Kudos to Governor Cuomo

June 5, 2012

 

CNN reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the current law that makes possession of marijuana in public view a Class B misdemeanor overturned.  It is considered a non-criminal violation in New York to possess less than 25 grams of marijuana so long as it remains private and unseen by the public. The punishment for the violation of possession of marijuana is a fine of $100 for first time offenders.  

The governor stated in a press conference yesterday, “There is a blatant inconsistency. If you possess marijuana privately it is a violation, if you show it in public it's a crime. It's incongruous. It's inconsistent the way it has been enforced."  

Governor Cuomo is not suggesting that the laws that make selling and smoking or burning marijuana be changed. The problem, according to the governor’s office, stems from the New York City Police Department’s “search and frisk” policy which results in 94% of the state’s arrests for small amounts of marijuana.  

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is on board.  "The human costs to each defendant charged with a misdemeanor are serious. The simple and fair change proposed by Gov. Cuomo will help us redirect significant resources to the most violent criminals and serious crime problems, and, frankly, it is the right thing to do."

Well said Mr. DA!  It is refreshing to hear the prosecution agree that the charges of possession of small amounts of marijuana and the serious ramifications that subsequently follow need revision for the sake of those who will ultimately suffer the life-long effects as well as the criminal justice system that is negatively impacted by tying up the courts with these types of cases.  

I applaud Governor Cuomo for his recognition and efforts to make a positive change in New York.  Possessing small amounts of marijuana should not be considered a major crime problem.  Okay, Texas, let’s follow suit!