Andrew Cuomo Wants To Make Weed Even Less Illegal (While Still Refusing To Support Medical Marijuana)

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Governor Andrew Cuomo today will reportedly ask state lawmakers to make marijuana even less illegal than it already is in the Empire State. Keep in mind, though, Cuomo is the same guy who's still unwilling to support the legalization of marijuana used for medicinal purposes, despite enormous public support for prescription pot.

As it currently stands, possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York is about as serious a violation as a parking ticket -- it was decriminalized in the 1970s. But there's a loophole for law enforcement: if you possess marijuana, and display it in "public view," you can get slapped with a misdemeanor. Cuomo's plan would make it so that possession in "public view" also is only a violation.

Cuomo's push for the further decriminalization of marijuana comes as New York City officials are catching some heat over the disproportionate number of minorities arrested for marijuana possession under Mayor Mike Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's controversial "Stop and Frisk" policy.

Weed advocates say minorities are jailed at a much higher rate than white people who get busted with weed, which has much to do with illegal searches causing people to reveal their weed in public, thus committing a misdemeanor.

Last month, the Drug Policy Alliance, a weed advocacy group, held a rally at City Hall to draw attention to the racially lopsided number of arrests for marijuana possession. The DPA cites a recent New York Times editorial claiming that of the roughly 50,000 people arrested each year in New York for low-level marijuana offenses, 87 percent are black or Hispanic.

"One New York City is for white people, where marijuana possession was decriminalized in 1977, people are seldom stopped and frisked, and mothers do not fear that their teenagers will be rounded up by the police," the group says. "The other New York City is for people of color, where hundreds of thousands of people are stopped even though most were entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, tens of thousands are illegally searched, falsely charged, arrested and incarcerated for marijuana possession (even though it's not a crime in New York), and mothers are afraid that the police may unlawfully arrest their young people."

In the last five years under the Bloomberg regime, the group says the NYPD made more marijuana arrests than in the twenty-four years under mayors Giuliani, Dinkins and Koch combined. Again, despite marijuana being decriminalized in New York for more than 30 years.

The group says low-level marijuana arrests make up 15-percent of the total arrests made in the five boroughs, which makes marijuana possession the "number one offense" in New York. And those arrests -- and the clogging of the court system they create -- costs New York City $75 million a year (again, that's according to marijuana advocates -- we weren't able to independently confirm the dollar amount).

Regardless of the exact dollar amount, cracking down on marijuana is costing the city money -- and it's costing the city money as it's cutting funding for things like libraries and after-school programs.

Cuomo's support for further decriminalizing marijuana comes just weeks after the governor said he wouldn't support a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.

Cuomo's said he's "studying" the pros and cons of medical marijuana, but that there isn't enough time this year for the Legislature to fine-tune the bill into something he'd consider signing (we suspect Cuomo's stance on medical weed has something to do with his presidential ambitions. More on that here).

"There are tremendous risks," the governor told reporters in April. "I think the risks outweigh the benefits at this point."

We asked the governor's office what "risks" he was referring to, however, we were given no answer. More on that here.

So, if Cuomo has his way, people who use marijuana for medicinal purposes (as well as those who use it for recreational purposes) will be able to possess weed in public without having to worry about getting charged with a misdemeanor. However, they'll still have to buy that weed from a drug dealer (where it can't be taxed or regulated) -- rather than get it from a doctor -- as Cuomo weighs the risks of letting people who already are smoking pot to treat various ailments to continue to do so legally. 

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4 comments
Da Realist
Da Realist

I'm glad Gov. Cuomo doesn't support Medical Marijuana because it's stupid and half butted, because Marijuana will still be ILLEGAL federally, that means the FEDS/DEA/Local Law Enforcement will still be able arrest anybody who possesses Marijuana. Legalizing Marijuana for Recreational Use is what should be supported and fought for, because it decriminalizes it. Marijuana should be Legalized for recreational use, sold out of stores to any adult 21 and over, and taxed. Doing so will create more jobs, the tax revenue generate 13 BILLION dollars for the economy according to prominent economist, it will make it harder for kids to use, and it will put a serious dent in the profit margin of violent drug gangs and cartels.

TomDegan
TomDegan

This morning I'll be taking some pot shots - quite literally. I am refering to America's mind-numblingly stupid laws with regard to the possession of marijuana....

BUT FIRST A DISCLAIMER:

I don't smoke pot. Nor do I advocate its usage - unless for medicinal purposes of course. I haven't touched the stuff since my nineteenth birthday - August 16, 1977 - which, coincidentally, was the day that Elvis Presley died. I always tell people that Elvis and I quit drugs at the very same moment, the only difference being that I did so voluntarily.

Having said that, let me say this:

Three-quarters-of-a-century after it was made illegal; a half-a-century after it was proven to be practically harmless - why is it still a crime to possess and smoke marijuana?

I have something for you to ponder: Here is a list of ten famous people - heavy smokers all - who died too soon of lung cancer or other diseases related to their addictions to nicotine:

Humphrey BogartEdward R. MurrowNat King ColeGeorge HarrisonJohn HustonNoel CowardBetty GrableWalt DisneyGary CooperPeter Jennings

Here is another list. Ten famous people who died from alcoholism:

Tennessee WilliamsJack KerouacTruman CapoteLorenz HartVeronica LakeBix BeiderbeckeMontgomery CliftDylan ThomasJohn BarrymoreErrol Flynn

Now I'm going to ask you to name for me one celebrity who has died from too much grass.

Go on, I'm waiting.....

You couldn't do it, could you? Don't feel bad, neither could I. Not only have I never heard of any famous person dying in that matter, I am not aware of it happening in all recorded human history! And don't let anyone bring up the late Bob Marley as an example of a victim of the excesses of weed. I have heard this done more times than I can count. Here's the myth:

BOB MARLEY DIED OF BRAIN CANCER BECAUSE HE SMOKED POT!

Here are the facts:

Bob Marley died from the exact same thing that my father died of - malignant melanoma that spread to his brain. Myth shattered.

Marijuana should have never been made illegal. Why in 2012 are we still having this same, idiotic conversation?

Is it a "gateway drug" as they never tire of reminding us? Quite possibly an argument can be made there. But if it is a gateway drug, so is Miller High Life - the Champagne of Bottled Beer. Let's get a grip here.

http://www.tomdegan.blpogspot....

Tom Degan

Joe52154
Joe52154

 

I was standing smokinga cigarette. Officers rushed up the porch in their full battle gear. Oneofficer rushed towards me, he yells he saw me pass something from 20 ft. away

in the dark (I handedmy friend a bic lighter). He said "shut up and turn around" andsearched me. He found nothing. "give me your license" he said. Thenhe goes off to check it.

I think he's eithergoing to check for priors or warrants and he's gonna come back and either handme my license back and say hagn or he's gonna give me some sort of ticket. Imthinking

well if I get a ticketI will come back here tomorrow night and take pics and a fewmeasurements and get this guy in court, and I'll win my case easily. So hecomes back, hands me a ticket,

says UPM on it,no explanation...nothing. I say but you searched me and I had nothing. Hesays I saw you pass something, same charge, and I was starting to explain whatwas wrong with

that ticket. A voiceof reason rang out from the crowd "Joe you better just shut up". So Ithink to myself, ya know he's right, this cop will haul me in at the drop of ahat. So I take the ticket

and walk off, thinkingOk I'll see you in court officer. So I stew on it til Monday's court date. I goto court, my name is called, I stand up at the bench, prosecutor onmy right and must have been

a public defender tomy left. Prosecutor says "any priors on Mr. XXXXX?" Defense says"No priors on Mr. XXXXX. I'm thinking good, here comes the guilty or notguilty part. So I'm waiting for Judge

Lamancuso who's agreat judge and a nice guy. Not his fault this is the way it is. Judge says"Case dismissed, contingent on 6 months" (dismissed isdismissed as far as I know) I didn't even hear

what the 6 months was,my mind went blank. I was dumbfounded. I stood there for what seemed like thelongest time, then I heard the next person's name called. I turned and startedwalking

out, thinking theofficer had ended up being judge-jury-executor. No guilty no innocent, justnothing. According to the PJ Operation Impact pretty much cleaned up thecounty's crime problem with

charges pendingfurther investigation.

I shudder to thinkwhat the further charges for pot passing would be if anyone was ever convictedof it. Which brings us to cost vs benefit. PJ says58 separated 'checks' were made. What

they call checks wereactually 58 separate planned tactical assaults on American citizens. (leavingout how much the bars lost from being chased off and harassed). Lets see58 checks 6 cops

2 or 3 vehicles forhalf an hour. Lets say 100 bucks a pop. $5800 cost. Their reward: 1 young girlwith a couple grams of pot in her purse, 1 poor soul having a beer where he wasnot supposed

to be - he was onparole, and myself, who if were afforded a day in court would have won easilyand we paid no fine at all. Check the court records. You can ask officer number158 of the JPD if this

is inaccurate. Hecan't dispute it, that would be purgery.  And finally I got a letter frommy dr. dropping me! He since has resumed his service once he found out thetruth.

 

flprogressive
flprogressive

This is not about encouraging marijuana use or saying that all use of currently illegal drugs or substances should be fully condoned and made open ad free. But there is no hiding the fiscal and common sense it makes to stop locking people up for ridiculously minimal "crimes" committed in the form of occasional use of a noxious plant. Why should the be a domain of government intervention or police suspicion when something totally legal, like alcohol, leads to far more deaths and other crimes among the populace? Across the nation, support is building for decriminalizing marijuana. Isn't time our political leaders listened? No more wasted tax dollars and lost revenue, right?   www.sunstateactivist.org

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