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Bill Aimed at Lowering Pot Arrests Gets Ready for Albany

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

New York’s law regarding public possession of a small amount of marijuana may soon change. A bill that would make it a violation, instead of a crime — proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday — has been drafted and is expected to be introduced in the Legislature as early as Wednesday.

There are three weeks left in the current legislative session. If enacted, the change could lead to a significant drop in the number of individuals arrested for possession after stop-and-frisk encounters with the NYPD. It was something the governor acknowledged on Monday.

“There have been additional complications in relation to the stop-and-frisk policy where there's claims young people could have a small amount of marijuana in their pocket, where they're stopped and frisked. The police officer says, `Turn out your pockets.' The marijuana is now in public view. It just went from a violation to a crime," he said.

Cuomo’s proposal would not legalize smoking marijuana in public. The governor says there’s a difference between possessing marijuana and smoking it in public, or selling the drug, which he thinks should still be classified as crimes.

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