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Gov. Cuomo Calls For Smart Marijuana Policy Reform In NY

Posted on  January 21, 2013 by  News Admin

  Cuomo: Marijuana Arrests That "Stigmatize and Criminalize... Must End Now"  Proposal Would Standardize Penalties, End Tens of Thousands of Annual Unlawful, Biased Marijuana Possession Arrests In his State of the State address on Wednesday, New York Governor Cuomo made a passionate call for reforming New York's marijuana possession laws in order to reduce unlawful, biased, and costly arrests. The governor noted the discrepancy in the law between public and private possession of small amounts of marijuana, and proposed standardizing penalties for possession. In his prepared written statement, the governor referenced the original intent of the marijuana possession law from 1977: "The legislature finds that arrests, criminal prosecutions, and criminal penalties are inappropriate for people who possess small quantities of marihuana for personal use. Every year, this process needlessly scars thousands of lives and wastes millions of dollars in law enforcement resources, while detracting from the prosecution of serious crime." Today, marijuana possession is the number one arrest in New York City. The governor cited the harmful outcomes of these arrests -- racial disparities, stigma, fiscal waste, criminalization -- and called on the legislature to act:  "It's not fair, it's not right. It must end, and it must end now." A powerful statewide coalition of community groups, faith and civil rights leaders, parents and young people applauded the Governor's strong leadership in tackling this issue. "We cannot have the same laws applied differently to different groups of people when the dividing line is race," said gabriel sayegh, New York state...