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New York state moves toward legalizing marijuana

After studying the impact, the state is moving toward legalizing marijuana. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo created a group to work on a legalization bill. The group will use the Department of Health’s recommendations to write regulations for the legalization of marijuana.

The state largely supports legalization

After a proposal is created, the bill moves to the New York legislature. Cuomo can sign it into law, but only after the state’s assembly and senate approve it.

63 percent of the state supports the legalization of marijuana. Medical marijuana is already legal for use in New York.

Many caught with marijuana in NYC will be ticketed

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio already relaxed enforcement regarding marijuana use. According to The New York Times, de Blasio faced criticism regarding the racial disparity in marijuana arrests and was receiving strong signs Cuomo was pushing for legalization.

In June, the mayor announced police officers would ticket, instead of arrest, most people caught smoking marijuana. People stopped with prior convictions will be arrested. The new policy started at the beginning of Sept., and it could potentially slash marijuana arrests by more than half.

Prosecution for marijuana crimes largely halted in NYC

Both the Manhattan and Brooklyn district attorneys also stopped prosecuting most people arrested for marijuana crimes. Eric Gonzalez, the Brooklyn district attorney, is vacating low-level convictions for marijuana possession and dismissing the underlying charges. His office is also working to vacate nearly 3,500 open marijuana arrest warrants. The Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance is slated to announce plans to vacate misdemeanor marijuana warrants that date as far back as 1978.

These moves were partly spurred by changing laws regarding marijuana. Research has also shown young black and Hispanic men are unfairly targeted by marijuana enforcement policies.

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James L. Riotto
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James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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