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Is decriminalization enough? Some say more change needed

New York is decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana — a policy some prosecutors have already taken on — but criminal justice reform advocates say more work needs to get done.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares’s office has already embraced ending prosecutions for low-level marijuana possession. Soares says over the years his fellow prosecutors have shifted their thinking on how to enforce drug laws.

“I think we are at a point right now where what we do, we want to do, but it has to make sense and you reap the public safety awards,” Soares said.

The law Governor Andrew Cuomo approved this week, decriminalizes up to two ounces of marijuana possession and creates a chance for those with low-level convictions to have their records expunged. In an interview, Soares applauded expungement, but says more people need to be told about it.

“My one criticism though is they did not provide any resources for the kind of massive communication effort you need to inform people,” Soares said.

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