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2019MARIJ REFORMEarlier this year, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced changes in the handling of low-level marijuana offenses in Westchester County. Under DA Scarpino’s policy, the possession of small amounts (two ounces or less) of marijuana do not result in a criminal conviction. This has not changed.

Today, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation that changes how the state prosecutes marijuana offenses. This New York State law which decriminalizes marijuana possession is still more restrictive than the District Attorney’s prosecution policy.

The differences are as follows: the DA’s Office will continue to decline to prosecute simple possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. Under state law, even possession of less than an ounce will be treated as a violation, resulting in a fine on conviction (not a criminal charge).

What has not changed: burning marijuana or holding it in public view will be prosecuted as a violation (Penal Law § 221.05) under both the DA’s policy and the new law.
The decriminalization law goes into effect Aug. 28, 2019.

Read more about the District Attorney’s policy here.

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