New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Monday a bill decriminalizing the use of marijuana in the state.
"Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all," Cuomo said in a statement.
He first proposed full decriminalization of marijuana in 2013.
The bill will make possession of one to two ounces of marijuana punishable by a fine rather than criminal charges and will expunge the records of individuals previously convicted of some marijuana offenses.
"By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process," said Cuomo.
New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called the move "an essential part of reforming our state's broken justice system."
New York's law makes it the sixteenth state to decriminalize marijuana. Eleven other states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized it.
The bill will take effect 30 days after becoming law.
*Michael Hernandez contributed to the story
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