Gov. Cuomo Seeks Reform to State Marijuana Laws (1/10/13)

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for reforming marijuana laws throughout New York State. 

As part of his State of the State Address, Cuomo spotlighted the disparity between public and private possession of marijuana, and asked lawmakers to enact legislation that would decriminalize both forms of pot possession up to fifteen grams.  

The governor cited the negative impacts of mass marijuana arrests, including criminalization, stigmatization, wasted resources, and racial disparities.  More than 600,000 people have been arrested for pot possession in New York in the past 15 years, most of them in New York City. The NYPD arrested some 50,000 people for "open view" possession in 2011 alone, 85% of them black or brown, mostly young men.

The Governor will propose legislation that makes 'open view' possession of marijuana in amounts of 15 grams or less a violation punishable by a fine," he said in prepared remarks.

"The governor’s proposal is an essential step towards bringing greater fairness and equity to both our drug laws and policing practices in our state. The criminalization of our young people must end -- the legislature must now act now to pass the governor’s bill", remarked Gabriel Sayegh, New York state director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Cuomo believes that mass marijuana arrests are "not worth it in dollars, in stigma or in impact.   He demanded, "It's not fair, it's not right. It must end, and it must end now."

Source: Stopthe DrugWar.org