Yesterday, the Mayor delivered his final State of the City address of his eleven years in office. In it, he reaffirmed his commitment to banning styrofoam in New York, making the most out of the Hurricane Sandy relief money and trumping up his City’s low crime statistics. Add in charter schools and gun control and you have yourself a speech made to cement the Mayor’s legacy with only eleven months left in office.
But what was perhaps most surprising about the Address was Mr. Bloomberg’s enthusiastic response to changing the pot laws in New York City. The Mayor proposed to simply ticket and release pot smokers on the spot instead of bringing them Downtown into custody. By doing so, pot possession in the City would shrink in severity from a violation to a misdemeanor.
Wait, what’d you do with the real Mayor Bloomberg?
Also, next month, the NYPD will enact a new way of dealing with the surplus of non-violent tokers behind bars: now, if you flash your ID, you can leave custody and appear in court a different day. That should empty space for more serious felons a bit.
The switch falls in line with Governor Cuomo’s call a few months ago to decriminalize “public view” of the illicit substance; a proposal that fell flat in Albany, even with pot lobbyists surrounding the State Capitol in recent weeks. As we know by now, legislative stalling is not in the Hizzoner’s vocabulary:
“Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. And we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But I’ll tell you, we won’t wait for that to happen.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 15, 2013