New York State's decriminalizing of marijuana will be business as usual in Monroe County, where the district attorney has been choosing not to prosecute small-quantity possession of pot for months.
"We saw that this was coming, we evaluated and made a choice to get ahead of it," District Attorney Sandra Doorley said.
The state has made possession of less than two ounces of marijuana a violation, punishable by no more than a fine. It's part of measures governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Monday.
"In most of the cases, they were getting dismissed after six months," Doorley added. "So looking at the resources, I thought not prosecuting for possession under two ounces was smart."
Decriminalizing pot will not make selling, or buying or trading or growing pot legal in New York efforts to do so in the legislature failed this spring.
Doorley said the most important take away from the new legislation has to do with how it impacts drivers.
"Just because you're decriminalizing it doesn't mean you can smoke and drive, or smoke while driving," Doorley said.
And just as impactful will be the expunging of past pot convictions connected to possession of less than two ounces of the drug. Advocates see this part of the new law as a way to balance the conviction rates of what advocates say is a high number of people of color.
The punishment scale for these violations will now begin those convicted of a first offense for possession of 25 grams of pot. That person will be fined $50; a far cry from the prison time so many served when Rockefeller-era drug laws took a zero tolerance approach to the drug.