Senate Bill S1284

2021-2022 Legislative Session

Decriminalizes possession of controlled substances, establishes the drug decriminalization task force; repealer

download bill text pdf

Sponsored By

Archive: Last Bill Status - In Senate Committee Codes Committee

  • Introduced
    • In Committee Assembly
    • In Committee Senate
    • On Floor Calendar Assembly
    • On Floor Calendar Senate
    • Passed Assembly
    • Passed Senate
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed By Governor

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2021-S1284 (ACTIVE) - Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Current Committee:
Senate Codes
Law Section:
Penal Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §220.03, rpld §§220.46 & 220.25, Pen L; amd §§160.50 & 440.10, CP L; amd §850, Gen Bus L; add §3395, Pub Health L
Versions Introduced in 2023-2024 Legislative Session:
S2340, A3434

2021-S1284 (ACTIVE) - Summary

Eliminates criminal and civil penalties for possession of controlled substances; establishes the drug decriminalization task force to develop recommendations for reforming state laws, regulations and practices so that they align with the stated goal of treating substance use disorder as a disease, rather than a criminal behavior.

2021-S1284 (ACTIVE) - Sponsor Memo

2021-S1284 (ACTIVE) - Bill Text download pdf

                     S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
                        2021-2022 Regular Sessions
                             I N  S E N A T E
                              January 8, 2021
 Introduced  by  Sen.  RIVERA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
   printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes
 AN ACT to amend the penal law, the criminal procedure law and the gener-
   al  business  law,  in  relation  to  decriminalizing  possession   of
   controlled  substances; to amend the public health law, in relation to
   establishing the drug decriminalization task force; to repeal  certain
   provisions  of  the  penal  law related thereto; and providing for the
   repeal of certain provisions upon the expiration thereof
   Section  1.  Legislative  findings.  The legislature hereby finds that
 substance use disorder is a disease  and  should  therefore  be  treated
 using  a  public  health,  rather  than a criminal-legal-system-centered
 approach.  Existing laws criminalizing the possession of drugs have been
 ineffective in reducing drug use and preventing substance use  disorder.
 Instead,  these laws have devastated individuals, families, and communi-
 ties.  Treating substance use as a crime by arresting and  incarcerating
 people  for personal use offenses causes significant harm to individuals
 who use drugs by disrupting and further destabilizing  their  lives.  It
 also contributes to an increased risk of death, the spread of infectious
 diseases,  mass  incarceration, the separation of families, and barriers
 to accessing housing, employment, and other vital services. Furthermore,
 even though research shows that drugs  are  used  and  sold  at  similar
 levels  across  all  races,  laws  criminalizing  the  use of drugs have
 disproportionately impacted Black and Latinx communities. The purpose of
 this legislation is to save lives  and  to  help  transform  New  York's
 approach to drug use from one based on criminalization and stigma to one
 based  on  science  and  compassion,  by  eliminating criminal and civil
 penalties for the personal possession of controlled substances.
   § 2. Section 220.03 of the penal law, as amended by section 4 of  part
 I of chapter 57 of the laws of 2015, is amended to read as follows:
  EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                       [ ] is old law to be omitted.


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