Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his 30-day amendments to legislation establishing comprehensive adult-use cannabis program in New York. $100 million dollars will be allocated for this program and part of the funds will go toward refining criminal charges for improper sales to reduce impact on communities hit hardest by war on drugs.
“A lot of places throughout the state are either not enforcing the marijuana law or like Oneida County when we’re talking about low level amounts of Marijuana, we have a diversion program for it. So it really isn’t like people are getting convictions for possessing a Marijuana joint or smoking a Marijuana cigarette in public, something like that.”—Scott McNamara, Oneida County District Attorney
If it is legalized, McNamara says there are two ways that the charges could be dismissed, “The best way of doing it is they would include it within the law that they would say anybody that has a conviction for these type of charges that those convictions would be vacated and the charges would be dismissed or basically people would be exonerated from the conviction.”
Or, the more challenging way, would be that individuals would have to apply to have their convictions vacated.
McNamara says he is not opposed to legalizing Marijuana but he expresses his concerns about driving while impaired.
“And what’s even more concerning from prosecutors stand point is that we don’t have a very good test.”
He hopes they do come up with a way to test but says only time will tell however he brings up an issue that will arise, which is can people grow their own Marijuana? So when it comes to alcohol, people can make their own beer they just cannot sell it. Will the same rules apply?
“These are the gaps that I hope that they try to fill in and instead of passing something and then realizing oh we’ve got all these holes in it.”