Weekend Recap: May Day, the Fight for Legal Weed, Blur in Brooklyn, and Wiz on SNL

Photo by Kathleen Caulderwood for the Village Voice
May Day 2015. See more photos from May Day in our slideshow.
American Pharoah and Floyd Mayweather each had a great weekend, even if the latter's victory was as boring as the former's predicted win was thrilling. If you were at home, shelling out $100 for pay-per-view or shopping for the best whiskey for your mint julep, you might have missed these events happening in New York.

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Unlikely Trio of Senators Forms Like Voltron to Revise Federal Pot Laws

Credit: Marijuana Policy Project
Senators Gillibrand, Booker, and Paul want to stop federal interference with states that make medical marijuana legal.
On Tuesday, senators from both sides of the aisle stumped for a new bill that could drastically change the United States' confusing relationship with medical marijuana.

New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand stood alongside Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker to promote the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States, or "CARERS," Act.

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Critics Assail Governor Cuomo's 'Expensive' Medical Marijuana Plan as Unfair to the Poor

Categories: Cannibals, Weed

Photo by Emily Tan
A medical marijuana supporter at the 2014 NYC Cannabis Parade.
Wanda Hernandez Parks smokes weed every day. But she's far from a recreational user.

The 52-year-old says marijuana helps keep up her appetite, and numbs the nerve pain that she experiences daily. Hernandez Parks has HIV.

"[Smoking marijuana] helps me cope," she says. "It pretty much allows me to get out of bed every day and do what I do."

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Stay Green, New York: Marijuana Arrests To Drop 20% In 2013

You probably know the rules by now: in New York City, if you're caught in public view with pot, or in possession of 25 grams or more, you're getting a violation. Because of this (well, at least, partially), New Yorkers made up 99.2 percent (149,951) of the entire state's marijuana-related arrests (total: 155,048) last year. And, in 2012, getting thrown in the can for the reefer was still No. 1 in New York with the highest amount of arrests.

But lately, the external pressures placed on internal agencies by the incredibly high rates has become an engine for policy shifts. This is why Governor Cuomo continues to try to outlaw the public view provision in the criminal code last year. And why Bloomberg has opted out of the 'stay overnight in jail, be at court in the morning' situation for marijuana offenders. And why NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has even told his officers to chill (brah) with the pot arrests.

Luckily, it looks like these efforts are actually showing real-time results.

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Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in NY Legislature [Updated with Commentary]

Categories: Marijuana, Weed

Assembly Bill 6357 and Senate Bill 4406 would allow for medicinal use of medical marijuana in New York.
A bipartisan coalition has introduced a bill in the New York State Assembly and Senate simultaneously that would permit use of cannabis for medical purposes by patients who have been certified by a doctor. So far, 18 states have passed similar bills, including New Jersey.

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Enjoy Watching Very Stoned People Drive Cars in This Hard-Hitting CNN Investigation

Categories: Driving, Weed

"As a consultant prepared our marijuana-smoking lab . . ." So begins this delightfully straight-faced CNN investigative report, in which the producers got Washington State drivers increasingly high in between repeated outings behind the wheel on a closed course to test their performance. The rest is journalism history.

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Bloomberg Goes Green: The High Vibes Of The Mayor's State Of The City Address

Categories: Bloomberg, Weed

Yesterday, the Mayor delivered his final State of the City address of his eleven years in office. In it, he reaffirmed his commitment to banning styrofoam in New York, making the most out of the Hurricane Sandy relief money and trumping up his City's low crime statistics. Add in charter schools and gun control and you have yourself a speech made to cement the Mayor's legacy with only eleven months left in office.

But what was perhaps most surprising about the Address was Mr. Bloomberg's enthusiastic response to changing the pot laws in New York City. The Mayor proposed to simply ticket and release pot smokers on the spot instead of bringing them Downtown into custody. By doing so, pot possession in the City would shrink in severity from a violation to a misdemeanor.

Wait, what'd you do with the real Mayor Bloomberg?

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New Jersey Gets First Medical Marijuana Dispensary. New York Still Weighing "Risks"

Today, about 20 medical marijuana patients will meet with staff at the Greenleaf Compassion Center, New Jersey's first medical marijuana facility to open its doors since the state passed a law legalizing prescription pot in 2010.

While medical weed is now legal in the Garden State -- as we've chronicled -- "progressive" New York is still weighing the "risks" of allowing sick people to treat their ailments with weed, rather than other prescription medications that, in most cases, are far more dangerous and addictive than marijuana.

In October, New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd announced that Greenleaf was the first state-sanctioned distributor of medical marijuana, following several hurdles that have delayed the implementation of the state's medical marijuana law.

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Weed Advocates Urge Republican Lawmakers to Support Cuomo's Decriminalization Plan

Categories: Weed
This afternoon, marijuana advocates will rally in front of City Hall to urge Republican lawmakers to decriminalize "public view" marijuana.

As it stands, marijuana possession in New York is a violation that's about as serious an infraction as a parking ticket. But a loophole in the state's marijuana law makes possessing that same marijuana in "public view" a misdemeanor.

In other words, smoking a joint in your apartment isn't a crime. Smoking the same joint in a park is -- and it could potentially land you in jail because when the law was adopted in the 1970s, lawmakers decided that smoking weed in public is somehow worse than smoking it at home.

If it doesn't seem to make much sense, that's because it doesn't.

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Medical Marijuana Gets New Push In New York; 'High' Hopes Ill-Advised

A Colorado-based marijuana company has enlisted the help of one of Albany's most influential lobbyists to make medical marijuana a reality in Andrew Cuomo's "progressive" New York. But the chances of the Empire State getting prescription pot any time soon aren't great.

Gaia Plant Based Medicine has recruited former Sheldon Silver aide Pat Lynch's lobbying firm to urge lawmakers -- and Cuomo -- to legalize medical marijuana in New York.

However, despite overwhelming legislative and public approval (anywhere from 60-percent to 80-percent of New Yorkers support medical marijuana, depending on which poll you look at), Cuomo has said he won't approve a bill legalizing medical marijuana.

The firm controlled by Pat Lynch, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was hired by Colorado-based marijuana company, Gaia Plant Based Medicine

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/medical-marijuana-proponents-ny-renew-push-legalization-article-1.1207862#ixzz2DL1KAw2

The firm controlled by Pat Lynch, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was hired by Colorado-based marijuana company, Gaia Plant Based Medicine

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/medical-marijuana-proponents-ny-renew-push-legalization-article-1.1207862#ixzz2DL1KAw2

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