Senate Bill S1527b to Legalize Recreational Marijuana use for Adults Was Proposed to the Senate Finance Committee. This is Why You Should Care

Senate Bill S1527b to Legalize

Senate Bill S1527b was proposed and sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger (D, WF),28th Senate District, to establish a regulated and taxed marijuana industry in New York, and will expand on the recent amendment to NY penal law § 221.05 (passed on August 28, 2019) that decriminalizes marijuana and automatically expunges and seals the criminal record of thousands who previously had minor marijuana possession convictions. However, if you want the record of your conviction destroyed, pursuant to the new law, you have to file a petition to the court in which the conviction occurred.

Why This Bill is Important

Senate Bill S1527b to Legalize

According to the bill text, S1527 intends to regulate, control, and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol; generate millions of dollars in revenue for New York; reduce the illegal drug market and violent crime; reduce the participation of otherwise law-abiding citizens in the illegal drug market; end the “racially disparate impact” of existing marijuana laws; and create new industries to increase employment in New York. 

Senator Krueger’s position is that “marijuana prohibition is a failed policy that disproportionately affects communities of color and wastes valuable law enforcement resources.”

What the Proposed Bill Says

If made law, the proposed bill will change the current laws regarding marijuana in New York, making marijuana legal for recreational use for adult citizens—possessing, transporting, and growing marijuana will be legal in a limited context:

a) Possession
Possessing, using, being under the influence, displaying, purchasing, obtaining, or transporting up to two pounds of marijuana and four six-and-one-half ounces of concentrated cannabis will be legal.
b) Transportation
Transporting and transferring, without compensation, (meaning that one can give, but not sell marijuana) two (2) pounds of marijuana and four-and-one-half 9 ounces of concentrated cannabis to a person twenty-one years of age and older will be legal.
c) Growing
Possessing, manufacturing, planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, processing or transporting no more than six living marijuana plants and possessing the marijuana and concentrated cannabis produced by the plants will be legal.
d) Consuming
Smoking, ingesting or otherwise consuming marijuana products will be legal.
e) Purchasing
Possessing, purchasing, or giving away (but not selling) marijuana or concentrated cannabis paraphernalia to people twenty-one years of age and older will be legal.

The Status of S1527

When asked about the status of the bill a staff member from Senator Krueger’s office said, “The bill was introduced several years ago, but has not moved out of the Finance committee yet. S1527 has been part of an ongoing discussion with Governor Cuomo, who acknowledges the proposal for recreational legalization of marijuana.”

However, between addressing concerns within the bill and making necessary modifications, before an agreement was reached to pass S1527the Senate session ended in June. Penal law § 221.05 was passed, decriminalizing marijuana and clearing misdemeanor possession convictions and other minor marijuana convictions from criminal records of thousands of New Yorkers.

The Senate also passed a law regarding hemp. Senate Bill S6184Aexpands on the existing law that authorizes the sale, distribution, transportation, and processing of industrial hemp—with or without CBD. 

The Senate Session ended in June 2019, and no schedules or agendas for any 2020 Senate committee meetings have been released. S1527 is sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger (D, WF) 28th Senate District, Midtown Manhattan, and is co-sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D, WF) 34th Senate District, Bronx; Senator Michael Gianaris (D, WF) 12th Senate District, North Western Queens; Senator Jamaal T. Bailey (D) 36th Senate District, East Bronx; and Senator Leroy Comrie (D) 14th Senate District, South Eastern Queens.