Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat and sponsor of the Senate bill who took up the issue eight years ago, said she got interested in the issue when she saw 50,000 Black and Latino young people getting arrested each year for marijuana possession and sales when white youths in her East Side of Manhattan district were not being stopped and searched by police.
“The victory for me and why I felt so good last night is the thought that we’re finally going to get rid of this,” she said of what she called an unfair system of enforcement for a widely used drug, especially among whites.
Here is a look at some of the effective dates of some major provisions in the new law:
Expungement of past criminal marijuana convictions/arrests
The new law will allow people convicted of marijuana-related crimes to have their records expunged. That process must begin “promptly,” but the law states it must be undertaken by state and local courts no later than two years from Wednesday’s bill signing.
State-approved marijuana sales
The new law sets up a complex legal and regulatory program in which the state will determine a range of matters, including where marijuana retailers can locate, and who gets to grow, process, distribute and sell marijuana and cannabis products. That process is set to legally begin no sooner than March 1, 2022. No one expects sales to begin for between 18 and 24 months.