Democrats are keen to decriminalize Marijuana across the nation and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a step in that direction for his state. He signed a bill Monday to decriminalize it. The legislation will reduce the penalty for illegal possession of marijuana. Henceforth it will be in the category of a violation and will be punishable by a fine instead of conviction. In addition, there could be expunction of criminal records of some of those convicted.

The bill will be effective 30 days after it becomes law.

CNN reports New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is from the Democratic party. He says - "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." He elaborated that this step will right many wrongs. It will expunge criminal records of those who suffered from unfair marijuana conviction. The aim of the legislation is to make marijuana enforcement more fair and equitable.

Some details of the proposal

Highlights of the legislation are the removal of criminal penalties for possession of fewer than two ounces of marijuana. The penalty for the possession of from one to two ounces of marijuana will vary from between $50 to $200.

It will be irrespective of criminal history. Other Democrats are also pursuing the subject at various levels.

One of them is California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris. She is a 2020 presidential contender and she wants decriminalization of marijuana on the federal level. Rep. Jerry Nadler is a New York Democrat. He introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. Both of them feel there is a greater likelihood of arrest and conviction of people of color for crimes related to marijuana.

CNN adds New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pursuing the issue since 2012. At the time, he proposed the state should take action to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana that are in public view. His argument was that such an action would do away with unnecessary misdemeanor charges against many New Yorkers.

New York joins other states to legalize marijuana

According to Daily Mail UK, the state of New York has taken a step to legalize marijuana. It introduced a new decriminalization law and there will now be fines for those caught with the drug rather than jail time. Eleven U.S. states plus the District of Columbia has fully legalized recreational marijuana. The first to do so was Colorado in 2014.

Another 15 states including New York have decriminalized it.

Data from the FBI reveals New York State arrested more than 360,000 people from 2008 to 2017 on charges of possessing the drug. One reason for relaxing the norms was the revenue that could accrue from taxing it. Such an action could help address a number of financial needs of New York City.

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