New York Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Decriminalizing Marijuana Use

The law also creates a process that will allow some people to get past marijuana convictions expunged

In this May 10, 2018 file photo, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in New York. New York Gov. On Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File

New York's governor has signed a bill reducing penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes unlawful possession of marijuana a violation similar to a traffic ticket. It also reduces fines.

The penalty is $50 for possessing less than an ounce of pot or a maximum of $200 for 1 to 2 ounces.

The law also creates a process that will allow some people to get past marijuana convictions expunged.

Cuomo calls the law "a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process."

State lawmakers considered legalizing marijuana for recreational use this year, but that legislation stalled.

Cuomo and the top leaders in the Legislature are all Democrats. The law takes effect 30 days from Monday.