The “Fairness and Equity Act” (“FEA”), was a comprehensive piece of legislation that would have expanded the decriminalization of cannabis in New York State. Enacting the FEA would have not only put an end to the racially biased practice of arresting mostly young men of color for criminal possession of cannabis, it also would have established a procedure for people previously convicted of certain cannabis crimes to vacate their judgments.
New York State leads the nation in minor marijuana possession arrests despite lawmakers having decriminalized the offenses decades ago. However, separate penal law (NY State Penal Law 221.10) classifies marijuana possession in a manner that is ‘open to public view’ as an arrestable offense. Police often use this provision as a means to make criminal arrests for activity that would otherwise warrant only a ticket.
NORML would like to thank those of you who contacted your state lawmakers in support of this legislation.