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This year’s legislative session is set to come to an end Thursday, and a proposal laid out by Governor Andrew Cuomo that would decriminalize the “public view” loophole in New York’s marijuana possession law appears to be dead in the water.
The governor set a deadline of last night for he and legislative leaders to reach an agreement on any legislation they wanted passed during this session. It’s Tuesday, and no announcement of a deal on “public view” marijuana possession has been announced.
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
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
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).
Republicans in the Senate — like Majority Leader Dean Skelos — oppose
Cuomo’s plan. Skelos even made the idiotic argument that “being able to
walk around with 10 joints in each ear” is wrong and should be a
misdemeanor, even though doing it in your apartment only is a violation
— and your run-of-the-mill ear can’t accommodate “10 joints.”
With the exception of several Senate Republicans, Cuomo’s proposal has a
lot of support — including the support of the D.A.s from all five
counties in New York City, as well as NYPD
Commissioner Ray Kelly, who was tagged as a racist by civil liberties
groups because of the disproportionate number of minorities arrested for
possession under the city’s
controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy.
It appears, however, that walking around with 10 joints in your ear will
remain a crime — unless, of course, you’re doing it in your