Business as usual in New York, cannabis continues to be decriminalized

Business as usual in New York, cannabis continues to be decriminalized

New York - The New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.6579A/A.8420A), to continue decriminalizing cannabis in our state. The bill lowers the fines associated with possessing small amounts of cannabis, under 2 ounces, to be up to $200. This bill also introduces a retroactive expungement mechanism into our criminal justice system, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands.

This “decriminalization” bill that is currently waiting for the Governor to sign into law, does nothing to end arrests for cannabis possession. Instead, the bill reduces penalties for public use and burning to a violation that can still ultimately lead to arrest. Cannabis was decriminalized by New York in 1977, and yet millions of people have been arrested since then and we became the cannabis arrest capital of the country.

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Rest Assured Doug Greene

Rest Assured Doug Greene

It is with tremendous sorrow to share that our beloved Douglas Greene, Legislative Director, Board Member and Lifetime Member of Empire State NORML, passed away under tragic circumstances on June 4, 2019.

Doug was a prolific longtime activist in the cannabis community, and dedicated decades of his life to many social causes. From ending the war on drugs and legalizing ibogaine to animal rights and veganism, he was a tenacious advocate always fighting for what he believed in.

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Groundbreaking educational series to challenge Facebook’s policies toward cannabis-related content and information.

Groundbreaking educational series to challenge Facebook’s policies toward cannabis-related content and information.

Groundbreaking educational series to challenge Facebook’s policies toward cannabis-related content and information.

May 15, 2019 - The Cannaramic Online Summit, the first online series designed to provide education and information to communities nationwide as cannabis legalization progresses, has drafted a complaint and intends to file a federal lawsuit against social media giant Facebook.

The complaint outlines a pattern of censorship and suppression of information and content pertaining to legal uses of cannabis across Facebook’s platform as well as that of the popular social media app, Instagram, also owned by Facebook.

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Assessment of NYPD Report On Public Burning of Marijuana

Assessment of NYPD Report On Public Burning of Marijuana

The Report by the New York City Police Department’s “Working Group” is more window dressing than an actual policy change. Rather, it appears to be an elaborate 20 page rationalization to continue the present enforcement protocol without any real progress on the policing front.  As of today, the policy continues to leave it to the relatively unfettered discretion in the hands of each officer to decide whether to issue a summons or, subject to a variety of exceptions, affect a full blown arrest for the public consumption of marijuana. The continuation of this policy certainly is better than the old days in that those issued a summons are not fingerprinted and face only a maximum $100 fine for a first offense. But, that is not the policy that the citizens of New York want or need.

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Cannabis and the New York Constitutional Convention

By: Troy Smit

(New York, NY) Empire State NORML would like to clarify some of the myths that we're hearing perpetuated about a ballot question appearing before the voters on November 7th.

On Election Day, New York voters will consider Ballot Proposal 1 (“Prop 1”) the question “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?”. Every 20 years, New Yorkers get to vote on whether or not to have a constitutional convention, which is one of the ways to amend our state Constitution. If Prop 1 is approved, a process begins of electing delegates, holding the convention and voting on proposed constitutional amendments and finally submitting amendments for voter approval in 2019 (a flowchart of the process is at http://www.newyorkconcon.info/).  

It's come to our attention that people have been lead to believe that by voting yes on Prop 1, they’re voting to change the laws regarding cannabis, including legalizing its responsible adult use. This is simply untrue and a gross oversimplification of one of the possibilities of holding a constitutional convention. What is true is that if Prop 1 passes, the delegates elected next year will hold the tremendous power to amend our state's Constitution. It’s possible that the delegates could pass an amendment to authorize initiatives and referenda, or an amendment that taxes and regulates cannabis, as Colorado voters did in 2012.

The truth of the matter is that a yes vote for Prop 1 is a vote to hold a constitutional convention in New York. Nothing more, nothing less.