Part of Hudson Valley Dismisses All Weed Possession, Sale Cases
Nearly 200 cases regarding marijuana possession or sales in the Hudson Valley were dismissed.
On Monday, Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah announced that courts in Westchester County have granted her permission to dismiss all marijuana cases involving felony and misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession or sale.
“Dismissing all marijuana cases, including underlying bench warrants, has been a priority of mine, and the legislature’s repeal of Article 221 was long overdue. The decriminalization of marijuana possession is critical given the discriminatory way marijuana laws have been used to incarcerate people of color.” Rocah said. “While Black and white Americans used marijuana at similar rates, people of color are much more likely to be arrested than white Americans for marijuana possession. Our office is committed to reducing this disparity and the dismissal of these cases is an important step.”
Despite roughly equal usage rates, people of color are 3.73 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana, according to Rocah's office.
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“The decriminalization of low-level marijuana-related offenses will prevent people from getting unnecessarily involved with the criminal justice system,” Rocah said. “Having to disclose an arrest and record can impact many facets of their life, including limiting employment and housing opportunities.”
A total of 184 cases have been dismissed by the Westchester District Attorney’s Office.
In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially signed a "historic" bill that legalized recreational marijuana in New York.
Anyone 21-years and older can possess up to three ounces of marijuana. New Yorkers can now legally smoke marijuana where cigarette smoking is allowed. The bill also automatically expunges most marijuana-related convictions.
Below is more on this "historic" bill and more reasons why lawmakers say it will take a long time until sales are legal in New York.