Albany Passes Drug Law Reform

After years of stalemate, lawmakers pass legislation that Pataki is expected to sign

The New York State Legislature voted on Tuesday to reform New York’s stringent “Rockefeller” drug laws, among the harshest in the nation, and eliminate stiff mandatory minimum sentences for first-time drug offenders caught selling small amounts of controlled substances.

Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, is expected to sign the measure into law.

If this vote in favor of reforming the drug laws is the last word and the reform efforts stop, then the changes provided by the new law are at best moderate advances.

On the other hand, if the vote is only the first chapter in a book that charts the tale of how prohibition ended in New York, then the vote is historic. The tide may have changed.

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