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Lawmakers reach deal to decriminalize marijuana possession

A man smoking marijuana. A man smoking marijuana. | Photo: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez.

June 21, 2019 09:11 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Lawmakers in New York state have passed legislation that would eliminate criminal penalties for public possession and use of marijuana.
    
The legislation would replace low-level criminal charges with civil tickets similar to a parking ticket. It would also create a process for expunging past pot convictions from the records of thousands of New Yorkers who had been arrested for small amounts of pot.
    
The bill passed the Senate Thursday followed by the Assembly early Friday. Both chambers are led by Democrats.
    
Legislation that would have legalized recreational marijuana for adults and regulated and taxed commercial sales fizzled Wednesday.
    
Lawmakers couldn't agree on key details, such as how tax revenue would be used and how local communities would decide whether they want to host dispensaries.
    
The session ends Friday.

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