The legislation Cuomo signed into law Monday makes unlawful possession of marijuana a violation similar to a traffic ticket. It also reduces fines.
The penalty would be $50 for possessing less than one ounce of pot or a maximum of $200 for one to two ounces.
The law also creates a process that will allow some people to get some past marijuana convictions expunged.
Cuomo called the law “a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.”
State lawmakers considered legalizing marijuana for recreational use this year, but that legislation stalled.
Cuomo and the top leaders in the Legislature are all Democrats.
The law takes effect in 30 days.
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