Brendan Keany

Flynn Dismisses Bench Warrants in Low Level Marijuana Cases in Buffalo

Flynn says he's preparing for legalized marijuana use in NYS

February 22, 2019 - 1:37 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn moved to vacate outstanding warrants stemming from the failure to appear in Buffalo City Court on violation and misdemeanor marijuana possession cases. This action effectively cleared the entire docket of warrants for low-level marijuana arrests in Buffalo City Court.

The request was granted by Buffalo City Court Judge Thomas P. Amodeo. The associated charges are also dismissed as a result.

At the 2019 State of the City address, Mayor Byron Brown announced that he ordered the Buffalo Police Department to stop the enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses. Accordingly and in the interest of justice, DA Flynn sought to vacate these warrants and dismiss charges against those arrested for violation and misdemeanor marijuana charges. Flynn plans to dismiss similar warrants throughout Erie County. He has directed his office to gather warrant data from the town courts where individuals have been charged only with violation or misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Governor Cuomo has declared the legalization of marijuana a legislative priority this year. It is still being discussed in Albany where the legislation will include directives on vacating past marijuana convictions. Once a state law on recreational marijuana has been signed by the Governor, DA Flynn will determine how to proceed in vacating low-level marijuana convictions.

“As legalization discussions continue in Albany, I am relieving a burden on those individuals who may have these charges hanging over their heads in the interest of justice,” says Flynn. “I do not believe people should find themselves in the criminal justice system and unable to apply for employment, student loans, or other services because of a low-level marijuana charge.” However, until the state law is passed, he will prosecute any new case presented.


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