District Attorney David Soares announced the policy change during a Thursday press conference saying, “Effective December 1st 2018 the Office of the Albany County District Attorney will no longer be prosecuting simple marijuana possession cases.”
Soares says the change only applies to possession of under 2 ounces of pot.
He said anyone selling marijuana or smoking it in public would still be subject to prosecution and getting behind the wheel is also not allowed.
“We are applying DWAI to our already formidable policy,” said Soares
However, because there is no legal threshold like there is for alcohol he could not say exactly how a driver could be tested, but that Drug Recognition Experts could help in these cases, much like with prescription drugs.
Medical marijuana is legal in New York State, but it has been also leaning toward joining other states in legalizing and regulating recreational use as well.
When it comes to law enforcement, Soares says he would leave an arrest up to the discretion of officers. NEWS10 ABC reached out to law enforcement agencies throughout the county. Some said it would hurt cases, but all said they would abide by the law first and foremost and let the DA’s office make their own decisions.
Going forward the DA says people who have been convicted for low-level marijuana offenses can look at having their cases expunged thru the DA’s Clean Slate program: cleanslate.albanycountyda.com