Cuomo: Marijuana Should Be Okay In Small Amounts

    June 5, 2012
    Amanda Crum
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For years now, people have been lobbying for the legalization of marijuana on the grounds that it should not be viewed differently from cigarette tobacco–due to its natural origins–and that its effects on the human body are far less dangerous than those caused by alcohol, which remains legal. There is also the argument that it could prove to be a huge economy booster if legalized.

But all that is beside the point, says New York governor Andrew Cuomo; one of the biggest problems surrounding the laws on marijuana is that they are inconsistent, and officials are spending time, money, and manpower arresting people in possession of it when they could be focusing on bigger problems in the streets.

Since 1977, the laws regarding weed in New York have been as such: if you carry 25 grams or less on your person, it’s a non-criminal violation that comes with a fine, providing you’re a first time offender. If you have it out in public, however–including being asked to turn out your pockets by police in accordance with New York’s highly controversial “stop and frisk” law–it’s classified as a misdemeanor. It sort of creates a no-win situation, and that’s what Cuomo wants to change by decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana altogether. According to the governor’s office, 2,000 arrests were made on charges of carrying small amounts of marijuana. In 2011, 50,000 arrests were made. That’s a huge jump, and, according to Cuomo supporters, a costly one.

“The human costs to each defendant charged with a misdemeanor are serious,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. “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.”

An overwhelming number of arrests made for small amounts of marijuana involve young hispanic or black citizens–82%, in fact–but being in possession of weed is a far more racially diverse thing. That brings us back to the “stop and frisk” law, which some say officials use to their advantage for racially-motivated arrests. Last year, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had officers stop arresting those who were given a “stop and frisk”, and Cuomo is following up on that directive.

“I understand the police commissioner’s directive. First, I think it puts police in an awkward position to tell them enforce some laws, don’t enforce other laws. I think that sets a bad precedent in general,” Cuomo said.

While it’s still a long way from legalizing marijuana–Cuomo made it clear he’s not advocating that–it could be the first step in officials looking differently at it.

“While Nanny Bloomberg harshes our sugar buzz, cool-guy Gov. Cuomo is telling the cops to go easy on marijuana.” http://t.co/EhM44Yu4
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A little sanity in NY. Of course, if reduced penalties make sense, #legalization makes even more sense. http://t.co/1ziNZ3xZ @FoxNews #420
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#Cuomo Seeks Cut in Frisk Arrests(Yearly 75,000 deaths alcohol overdose, Rx overdose 27,000; #marijuana overdose 0)http://t.co/wy9hZ9eQ
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  • Chris

    Tobacco is a natural origin too and so is poppy plants. It is what’s put into them that make them harmful and things are put in weed too that are harmful. PCP, LSD, Dipped in Enbalming fluid and all kinds of things to make it more potent.

    • anonymous

      Actually if you read your facts their is nothing in marijuana that is harmful for you. It does not cause cancer, it actually helps suppress it. If anything it is the paper being burned along with the marijuana that is more harmful than the marijuana itself that is why people should use vaporizers or glass pieces to stop smoking paper. Tobacco is the most deadly thing on the market and it is legal simply because of economics. So don’t ever say again than marijuana has anything harmful in it.

      • anonymous

        And also I know hundreds of marijuana smokers and I never once met someone who dipped their marijuana in LCD or PCP all those things are done separately and maybe people will smoke a joint will doing it but nobody mixes things into their weed except maybe tobacco to make spliffs which of coarse is unhealthy

  • http://na HAHAHA

    So basically he is saying that because to many people are getting arrested for possession of this drug and because of that it should become legalized. If thats the case lets all go on a killing spree and legalize murder.. Its a drug, and its illegal so lets keep it that way.

  • http://thecorklist.com Corky

    I really just wish that there were many more intelligent pot smokers then there re dumdums of the general public opposing this change all together. I am for the change as it makes sense to give experimenters a chance to rebound. Furthermore owning pot is really just as stupid as jaywalking and people used to get arrested for that. But, nowadays the average criminal is into much more serious offenses. I agree with Cuomo that resources should be redirected. I do not however think that MJ should be legalized. Legalizing MJ means that the market would be flooded with swag and the prices for the good stuff would skyrocket.