After months of debate this legislative session on how the state will approach legalization, the legislature adjourned this week without reaching a conclusion.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger's Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act was unable to gain enough support in the Senate to receive a vote before the legislature's deadline.
However, the legislature did approve improvements to New York's decriminalization cannabis policies.
Lawmakers passed legislation to fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.
It is unfortunate that despite the majority of New Yorkers supporting legalization, the legislature failed to act this session. It is past time to end cannabis prohibition in New York. Let your lawmakers know you want them to end prohibition and replace it with a system where marijuana is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.
This year, Alaska lawmakers have a chance to stop derailing lives for some old cannabis convictions. Criminal records can make it difficult to get a job, housing, or further one's education. It's outrageous that Alaskans are still haunted by records for conduct that is now legal.
SB 8 would prohibit the state from disclosing records of marijuana possession cases involving personal-use amounts of cannabis before voters legalized adult-use marijuana in 2014.
Following decades of marijuana prohibition, many find themselves limited by criminal histories that remain frozen in time, even as states continue to update cannabis laws. SB 8 would help protect individuals who got in trouble when laws were different.
Under the current proposal, the protection would apply for those who were not charged with any other type of offense and would be limited to marijuana cases involving less than an ounce. The text of the measure is available online here.
As the failure of marijuana prohibition is left behind, we shouldn't also leave behind those who were exposed to the criminal justice system for choosing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Click here to express your support for SB 8.
And please forward this message to those who also support this important protection!