Although marijuana decriminalization bills A1897/A4269 passed in the Assembly, the cannabis decriminalization bill in the Senate, Senate bill S2535, is preferred as it offers more meaningful reform and a fairer policy than the Assembly bills and especially for those who are disproportionately arrested and even after possible legalization.
Many people of color and those with previous records are still getting arrested in legalized states because of continued marijuana felonization. If social justice is truly what we’re after in marijuana policy reform, then we must end felony disenfranchisement for marijuana as much as possible, as soon as possible.
Decriminalization bill S2535 helps do that by offering provisions even the previous legalization plan did not offer, like protecting child custody rights and access to financial assistance, housing assistance and social services. It also protects against employment or mortgage loan discrimination and helps and protects those with previous felonies, those on probation or parole and can even help release prisoners from jail, prison or forced rehabs for these marijuana felonies.
It also has provisions which would no longer allow the smell of marijuana to be probable cause for a search by law enforcement.