Photo: Flickr / Wiros
New York State governor Andrew Cuomo wants to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot, according to a report from the New York Times. This could be huge.
From the report:
The governor will call for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view, administration officials said. Advocates of such a change say the offence has ensnared tens of thousands of young black and Latino men who are stopped by the New York City police for other reasons but after being instructed to empty their pockets, find themselves charged with a crime.
Instead of a crime, a “small amount” would be a mere violation. Dealing would still be considered criminal.
But it could bring Cuomo into conflict with New York City Major Mike Bloomberg and the NYPD, according to the Times’ report:
In this case, the governor would be acting against the wishes of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and in spite of a September directive from the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, who instructed officers not to arrest people who take small amounts of marijuana out of their pockets or bags after being stopped by the police.
Basically, Cuomo has been looking for a way to mitigate the ‘stop-and-frisk’ policies of Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD. Changing the criminal code around marijuana allows him to do that in an indirect way.
The governor’s office told the Times that such a measure would “save thousands of New Yorkers, particularly minority youth, from the unnecessary and life-altering trauma of a criminal arrest and, in some cases, prosecution.”
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