New York state decriminalizes marijuana, short of Cuomo’s legalization goal


An electronic billboard displays a marijuana hashtag at Times Square in New York, U.S., November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York state on Monday decriminalized recreational marijuana use, meaning possession of small amounts of the drug will be punished with fines rather than jail time, a step short of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of legalizing pot.

Cuomo said the measure would also allow a mechanism for clearing the records of people who previously have been criminally convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The Democratic governor in December said that legalizing recreational marijuana use was one of his top legislative priorities for 2019.

Reporting by Matthew Lavietes; Editing by David Gregorio

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