Earlier this week, New York Governor Cuomo announced that he will seek legislation to decriminalize the public possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Though possessing weed was decriminalized in New York State thirty-five years ago, there’s a weird gray area where as soon as the weed is in “public view,” you get a misdemeanor. And with 50,000 marijuana-related arrests yearly, it’s costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
Cue Cuomo’s completely rational introduction of legislation that would make public possession legal.
The GOP, however, is having nothing to do with this. Though Senator Dean Skelos thinks that 25 grams is too much, he also acknowledged that people are getting misdemeanors for weed possession when stopped-and-frisked.
“The issue was, in the city in particular, if you were stopped by a policeman, asked to empty your pockets, if you had a joint in your pocket, that would be a violation, but bringing it out on the desk at his instruction would make it a misdemeanor. That is wrong. It should be a violation. You’re following the policeman’s order.”
“But being able to just walk around with 10 joints in each ear and it only be a violation, I think that’s wrong.” ‘Cause that’s what people do.
Others were less nuanced. “I do not support the decriminalization of marijuana,” said Staten Island Republican Andrew Lanza. “As a former prosecutor, I know that drug abuse and addiction wrecks people’s lives and leads to more crimes.”
Another Assemblyperson chose to focus on the children. “The governor’s proposal to decriminalize the possession of certain amounts of marijuana in order to reduce stop-and-frisk arrests sends the completely wrong message to New York’s children, conveying that it’s ‘OK’ to carry and use illegal drugs,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Brooklyn Republican. “We must continue to crack down on illegal drugs, not explicitly condone their use via legislation.”
The reality is that the drug war simply isn’t working. (Photo: Jason Kuffer/Flickr)