New York State legislators want a pay raise for the first time since 1999. Governor Andrew Cuomo wants young minorities to stop getting screwed by New York’s bizarre “public view” marijuana law, and the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy — and the governor made it clear yesterday that lawmakers won’t get a pay bump until they get to work on decriminalizing “public view” marijuana.
“I would not even consider — even consider a pay raise — unless the
people’s business was being done in a thorough, responsible way,” Cuomo told reporters yesterday.
“The people’s business” also includes a raise in the minimum wage, which currently is $7.25 an hour. Cuomo wants it raised to $8.50.
New York’s “public view” marijuana law essentially says this: having small amounts of marijuana in your apartment is only a
violation, while having the same amount of marijuana in the street —
for some stupid reason — is a misdemeanor.
It’s been labeled the “dumbest drug law” in America.
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
As we mentioned, it makes no sense.
The loophole has led to the disproportionate arrests of young minorities
roughly 50,000 people arrested each year in New York for
low-level marijuana offenses, 87 percent are black or Hispanic), who
fall victim to the law because of “Stop
Lawmakers have since taken notice, and several have supported a plan to
decriminalize “public view” marijuana — but only because it’s led to
the disproportionate arrests of minorities, not because it’s a stupid law.
Legislature is in recess until January, but there’s speculation it
might call a special session so lawmakers can give themselves a raise.
If that’s the case, also on the agenda will be weed and the minimum wage
if Cuomo has his way, anyway.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 17, 2012