New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the proposal of new legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to Reuters. The New York Police Departments’ ‘stop and frisk’ policy has been the subject of recent controversy; many people consider it to be a violation of constitutional rights.
Possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York is currently a misdemeanor. Currently, persons found to be holding less than 25 grams of marijuana are supposed to be issued a non-criminal violation ticket—much like a traffic ticket. But if the person is “openly displaying” the drug, the result is a misdemeanor charge and the person is usually arrested. Recently, officers in New York have been searching individuals and arresting them for marijuana they were not publicly displaying.
This new legislation seems like a reasonable step—most people possessing small amounts of marijuana do not pose a threat to society. Misdemeanor arrests are way up in New York for possession of marijuana from approximately 2,000 a year in 1990 to over 50,000 in both 2010 and 2011.
“The human costs to each defendant charged with a misdemeanor are serious,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. “And the drain of resources in our office and the NYPD to process those 6,000 cases [number of annual public display of marijuana cases in Manhattan] is significant.”
If you or a loved one are facing possession of drug charges, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney.
Law Office of Christine Harris—Dallas criminal defense attorney.