Statement from New Yorkers United for Justice Chief Strategist Khalil A. Cumberbatch and Senior Advisor Topeka K. Sam on Governor Cuomo’s Decriminalization of Marijuana, Expungement Executive Order

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 29, 2019
Contact: Christina Polizzi (cpolizzi@skdknick.com) 201.961.3223

Statement from New Yorkers United for Justice Chief Strategist Khalil A. Cumberbatch and Senior Advisor Topeka K. Sam on Governor Cuomo’s Decriminalization of Marijuana, Expungement Executive Order 

NYUJ Pushed for Expungement of Marijuana Sentences During the Legislative Session

NEW YORK – New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) Chief Strategist Khalil A. Cumberbatch and Senior Advisor Topeka K. Sam released the following statement today applauding Governor Cuomo for signing groundbreaking legislation to decriminalize marijuana use in New York State, and allow for expungement of marijuana related charges:

“Instead of achieving the ideals of our criminal justice system, our marijuana laws did nothing to keep our communities safe and exacerbated inequality. In fact, New Yorkers of color were far more likely to be arrested or charged with marijuana related offenses and forced to live with the lasting consequences. These counterproductive laws allowed New Yorkers to languish behind bars instead of giving back to their communities, leaving a stain on their record that acts as a barrier to jobs, and housing for the rest of their lives.

“By signing this legislation, Governor Cuomo continues to show that he takes criminal justice reform seriously and regards this as an important step to address a system that too often put safety and justice last.

“But the reality is that there’s far more work to do. While it’s clear that the Governor and the legislature are bending New York’s moral arc in the right direction, it’s key to build on the success of pretrial reforms and the historic inclusion of expungement measures in the law signed today to give a second chance to many more deserving New Yorkers and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.”

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