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LAS Hails Legislative Agreement on Marijuana Legalization

The Legal Aid Society hailed an agreement by Albany lawmakers on legislation that will finally bring comprehensive marijuana legalization to New York State, as reported by the Associated Press.

The legislation, which was introduced late last night, not only legalizes recreational marijuana use, but also automatically expunges marijuana-related past convictions; sets a goal of having 50 percent of marijuana business licenses issued to New Yorkers from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition; allocates 40 percent of related tax revenue to a community reinvestment fund; precludes police offices from citing odor to justify a search; and includes other critical provisions that Legal Aid and advocates have been championing for years.

The New York State Senate and Assembly will vote on the bill later this week, and Governor Cuomo is expected to enact it immediately into law.

“This landmark legislation brings justice to New York State by ending prohibition, expunging conviction records that have curtailed the opportunities of countless predominately young Black and Latinx New Yorkers, and delivers economic justice to ensure that communities who have suffered the brunt of aggressive and disparate marijuana enforcement are first in line to reap the economic gain,” reads a statement from The Legal Aid Society.