New York lawmakers are wasting no time with marijuana decriminalization and regulation in 2018. A hearing has been set in early January to examine the potential impacts of the legalization and regulation of marijuana and its effects on New York’s criminal justice and public healthcare systems.
Decriminalization of marijuana in New York happened over 40 years ago. These laws are now outdated. Significant amounts of people are arrested each year for public possession. This non-criminal violation is a finable offense that can stay on your criminal record. Forever tarnishing your reputation or facing possible incarceration for committing a non-violent offense.
Unfortunately, statistics have repeatedly proven that those arrested are
disproportionately African American and Latino. Further fueling racial divide.
New York can join the likes of Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusets, Nevada, Oregon, and Washinton in 2018. All of these states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized use and possession of recreational cannabis. New Jersey appears to be the next state that will pass legalization.
New York’s Medical Marijuana Program has gradually expanded since its inception in 2014. Unfortunately, it is still way too far behind other medical marijuana programs. Failing to provide patients with access to the medicine they require. The NY medical program appears to be structured in a manner to fail.
In 2017, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act Failed to Advance, cementing itself within the committee stage. There is no word yet from Cuomo’s office if he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
The New York Assembly Standing Committee on Codes, Assembly Standing Committee on Health, and the Assembly Standing Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse will hold this joint hearing on legalization January 11, 2018.
Information on how to submit testimony is online here.