New York State Decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana Use
New York state this week decriminalized recreational marijuana use, Reuters reports. Possession of small amounts of marijuana will be punished with fines instead of jail time.
President Obama on Tuesday announced he was reducing or eliminating the sentences for hundreds more nonviolent drug offenders, CNN reports. He has now reduced the sentences for 1,385 people, most of whom are serving time for crimes related to producing or distributing narcotics.
Many people whose sentences were commuted were incarcerated for crimes involving crack cocaine. Those crimes had mandatory sentences that were longer than those for powdered cocaine. African Americans were overwhelmingly affected by the longer sentences.
A White House statement noted commuting sentences is a stop-gap measure. “Only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure over the long run that our criminal justice system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety,” the statement said.