Healthcare

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (Unintentionally) Explains Why “Public View” Weed Law Makes No Sense

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As you probably know, New York’s “public view” marijuana law makes absolutely no sense — it makes doing something in public (while fully clothed) a misdemeanor, while doing the same exact thing in private is a violation that’s about as serious a crime as a parking ticket.

Nobody seems to know this better than state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — although, he doesn’t seem to know that he knows it.

While arguing against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to decriminalize “public view” marijuana possession, Skelos told reporters yesterday that “being able to walk around with 10 joints in each ear and it would only be a violation — I think that’s wrong,”

Aside from the fact that your run-of-the-mill ear can’t accommodate “10 joints,” as the law is currently written, “walking around with 10 joints in each ear” is a mere violation — as long as you do it behind closed doors.

In other words, you can currently walk around your apartment with 50
joints in each ear and it’s only a violation. However, the second you
step outside, you’re a criminal, and could be charged with a
misdemeanor.

As we’ve pointed out in several posts, possession of small amounts of
marijuana was decriminalized in New York in the 1970s thanks to the
Marijuana Reform Act, which makes possession of marijuana a ticketable
offense, rather than a crime that will go on your permanent record. However, a loophole in the law makes it a misdemeanor to possess weed in “public view.”

For some reason, lawmakers decided that possessing weed is a crime if
you’re outdoors, but not if you’re sitting on your couch watching Animal
Planet.

Cuomo’s plan is in response to the fact that the loophole
has led to the disproportionate arrests of young minorities (of the
roughly 50,000 people arrested each year in New York for
low-level marijuana offenses, 87 percent are black or Hispanic).

Cuomo, however — while relegating marijuana possession to the
seriousness of parking in front of a fire hydrant — still refuses to
support the legalization of medical marijuana. Read all about it here.

Cuomo’s plan has the support of dozens of elected officials, including
the district attorneys in each of the five boroughs — so it appears
Skelos’ nightmare of people gallivanting around New York with
joint-filled ears could potentially become a reality.