Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced Wednesday that he is not waiting for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the newly passed marijuana decriminalization bill to begin applying the new rules to current cases.
The new law makes smoking marijuana or possession of marijuana up to two ounces a violation, the equivalent of a traffic ticket.
Flynn says he'll stop prosecuting any of those cases that are pending right now and won't prosecute any new cases that arise before the bill is signed.
"I don't think it's fair to have this hanging over people's heads until the bill becomes law," said Flynn. "One of the main reasons I'm doing this is this bill may affect individuals who want to apply for financial aid for the fall. The governor may not sign it right away, it may take a few weeks, it may not be in effect until after school starts in September."
The law also expunges previous misdemeanor charges from the records of anyone who was convicted of them.
Flynn says that part is going to take a while as the state figures out logistics, but he will seal those records so the charge doesn't appear on background checks for things like jobs and financial aid.
If that applies to you and you want your record sealed, you'll have to get in touch with the DA's office to make it happen. It is not something that the office will do without your request.