Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed A08420 into law, which will fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. The law will take effect in 30 days.
This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. It also reduces the penalty for possessing about an ounce of cannabis from a $100 fine to a $50 fine. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.
While this improved decriminalization law is an important step forward, there is still work to be done to improve New York's marijuana laws. Unfortunately, the legislature failed to pass a legalization measure before the session adjourned.
The majority of New Yorkers support legalization. Let your lawmakers know you want them to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult use in 2020.
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.
Your state senator could be the deciding vote to push legalization over the finish line. With the legislature adjourning tomorrow, it is very imperative they hear from you TODAY.
Please call your senator to ask them to vote to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. Our automated system makes it quick and easy — it'll look up your state senator when you type in your address and provide talking points.
It is important your senator hears from as many constituents as possible. If you're not comfortable calling, you can send an email here.
It's time to make history!
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senate Finance Chair Liz Krueger have introduced a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. But, there are just days left to get it passed this legislative session, which ends June 19.
The bill was introduced after months of debate between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature on how the state will approach legalization. Gov. Cuomo has said that he would sign the bill, but it does not yet have the 32 votes needed to pass the Senate.
The bill provides that an Office of Cannabis Management will be created and charged with regulating both adult-use and medical cannabis — which was adopted from Gov. Cuomo's earlier proposal. It would also expunge records of those previously convicted of possessing small amounts of cannabis, and 50 percent of the tax revenue would go toward establishing grants to fund programs serving communities that were disparately impacted by cannabis prohibition.
New Yorkers deserve a just, equitable cannabis policy. Contact your lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo today to get legalization across the finish line this session! Then, share the action link with other thoughtful New Yorkers, so that they, too, can raise their voices.
P.S. It saddens us to inform you that Doug Greene, a lifelong cannabis activist who worked tirelessly to reform cannabis policy in New York, passed away last week. His funeral service will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 1:15 p.m. at Knollwood Park Cemetery — 57-80 Cooper Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385.
With the New York Legislature in the final weeks of its 2019 legislative session, we need you to take action NOW to help get the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act across the finish line.
Just last week, the Illinois Legislature passed a landmark cannabis regulation bill, and New York can do the same — if we can get lawmakers to act!
In fact, New York's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act closely mirrors the Illinois legislation — with far-reaching expungement provisions for prior convictions, funding for communities harmed by the war on drugs, social equity measures, and funding to ensure people from impacted communities are able to enter the cannabis industry.
This week, Assembly Majority Leader and bill sponsor Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she believes the Assembly support is there to pass the bill, and Gov. Cuomo signaled his continued support for legalization. But New York lawmakers MUST make passage a legislative priority, as the bill has to advance before the session ends on Wednesday, June 19.
The New York bill would not just ensure marijuana is legalized, but legalized the right way — rooted in racial, economic, and social justice.
A big thanks goes to the Drug Policy Alliance for leading legalization efforts in New York. And thanks in advance for your help!
The Illinois Senate just voted (38-17) to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use! Now the bill moves to the House, which could vote at any time. There's no time to waste: the legislature adjourns on Friday.
Make sure your state rep is on the right side of history. Send an email or make a phone call today!
State lawmakers really do listen to voters, and just a handful of calls and emails per district can make all the difference. The vote is expected to be close.
In New Jersey, hopes of legalizing marijuana in 2018 or 2019 were dashed when the vote count came up a few votes shy. Efforts also stalled in New York and Connecticut.
Don't let this chance to end prohibition in Illinois slip away: Write your state rep today. You could also look them up on social media and politely ask them to stand up for justice there. And don't forget to rally your friends to do the same: Share this on social media or by email.
On Monday, September 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that adds acute pain management to the list of approved conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid use. This new law formalizes regulations the New York State Department of Health issued in July, which added opioid replacement and opioid use disorder to the list.
This is great news for patients! Access to medical marijuana is no longer limited to those suffering from chronic pain. This bill and regulations allow more patients who could benefit from medical marijuana a safe and effective alternative to highly addictive opioids.
Find more information on New York’s medical marijuana program, including the list of qualifying conditions and how to register, here.
Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will hold a series of “listening sessions” to gather input on marijuana legalization from community members and stakeholders. Input will assist in drafting legislation to tax and regulate marijuana for adults’ use.
If you’re a New York resident, don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard. Sign up to attend a listening session here.
Fifteen listening sessions will be carried out throughout the state in the following locations: Albany, Glens Falls, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, Newburgh, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Watertown. The first listening session is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5 in Albany. Find the full list of listening sessions here.
You can find resources on marijuana regulation and legalization on our legalization issues page, including reasons to legalize marijuana, background on how legalization is working in Washington and Colorado, and data showing teen marijuana use hasn’t increased after legalization.
It’s vital that lawmakers and the governor hear that their constituents want to replace marijuana prohibition with thoughtful regulation. Please spread the word, and voice your support!
The Health Commissioner of New York, Howard Zucker, recently announced that a long-awaited study by the Cuomo administration will recommend the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adult use. The study is believed to be at least partly in response to gubernatorial primary candidate Cynthia Nixon’s strong support of marijuana legalization.
Mr. Zucker also announced that the Health Department will issue regulations to allow patients who have been prescribed opioids to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program. Not all patients can qualify under the existing chronic pain provision, since opioids may also be prescribed for severe but short-term pain, such as after surgery. The New York Senate also passed a bill to do the same, as well as to allow patients with opioid use disorder to qualify.
While the state’s legislative session is ending soon, New York is moving closer to ending marijuana prohibition!
In other news, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio, under increasing pressure to address the racial disparity in low-level marijuana arrests, announced a new policy designed to reduce arrests and give more tickets instead. Unfortunately, the policy, which will take effect September 1, has so many exceptions its impact may be limited.
We’ve known for years that marijuana laws disproportionately harm people of color, but the results of a recent New York Times investigation are still shocking. According to the report:
- Black New York City residents are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites; Hispanic residents are five times more likely.
- During the first three months of this year, 89% of the 4,000 marijuana arrests in New York City were Black or Hispanic.
It doesn’t make sense to arrest an adult for possessing or consuming marijuana, but the racial disparities in these arrest rates make the injustice of marijuana prohibition even more intolerable.
The situation in New York City is so morally indefensible that the Manhattan district attorney announced his office will no longer prosecute low-level marijuana cases, and Mayor Bill de Blasio is directing police to stop arresting people for public consumption of marijuana.
Those are positive steps, but the solution is to repeal the destructive policy of marijuana prohibition.