Legal Aid Bureau Applauds Passage of Marijuana Reform

Posted by Editorial Team

April 1, 2021

Statement on NYS Marijuana Legalization

The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo issued the following statement in support of the passage of the Marijuana Reform and Taxation Act:

Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo Applauds Passage of Marijuana Reform and Taxation Act

On March 31st, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the historic “Marijuana Reform and Taxation Act” bringing to conclusion years of advocacy aimed at rectifying decades of failed drug enforcement policy. This new act, while primarily legalizing adult use cannabis, has several important restorative justice and law enforcement limitation provisions that will benefit the disproportionately targeted populations that we serve.

The new law automatically expunges most possession level marijuana convictions freeing our clients from the collateral consequences of these past convictions. No longer will our clients be in danger of losing housing, jobs, children or student loans over a simple marijuana possession conviction. Additionally, those with pending charges should see those matters dismissed immediately freeing them of the need to further defend themselves from prosecution. Importantly, no longer will law enforcement be allowed to use the smell of marijuana as pretext for stopping, detaining and searching individuals on the street or in vehicles, or the vehicles themselves.

The new law effectively ends the constitutionally ambiguous practice of smell bases searches unless reasonably limited to the determination of driver impairment. These provisions, along with the commitment of millions of dollars in funding to those communities most negatively impacted by the previous enforcement scheme, will result in substantial benefits to our clients in the City of Buffalo. The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo strongly supported this measure and applauds its passage.


Kevin M. Stadelmaier, Criminal Defense Unit,
(716) 830-2990,

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