Under the law, possession of small amounts of marijuana will be considered a violation punishable by fine. Criminal penalties for possessing two ounces of marijuana or less will be removed.
The penalty is $50 for possessing less than an ounce of pot or a maximum of $200 for 1 to 2 ounces.
Further, the law creates a process for people with certain types of marijuana convictions to have their records expunged.
The law will take effect in 30 days.
“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Cuomo said. “By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.”
“Decriminalizing marijuana is an essential part of reforming our state’s broken justice system. For too long, communities of color have been disproportionately targeted and negatively impacted. The Senate Democratic Majority will continue our efforts for full legalization and regulation of marijuana, and today’s decriminalization is a good first step,” said State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
“This law is an important step in righting decades of injustice caused by the state’s current drug laws. Decriminalizing marijuana and expunging records for those with low level offenses will go a long way towards helping our communities, and especially people of color, who have been devastated by them. By removing the barriers and stigma that come with these records, we clear the path for many New Yorkers to find a job, housing and go on to live successful and productive lives,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)