Last week we spoke about Governor Cuomo’s push to change stop-and-frisk practices. A big part of his initiative was a push to have more marijuana charges classified as violations (no jail time or criminal record and a small fine) as opposed to misdemeanors (potential criminal record and jail time). The state’s Republicans are resisting the effort and the stage is set for a showdown.
Since New Yorkers have a legislative history of being pro-marijuana reform (as the latest polls suggest) Republicans are looking to strike a deal. They have expressed a willingness to uphold the overall theme of decriminalizing pot found in a routine search but change some of the parameters. Some Republicans want to see the decriminalized amount dropped from the current 25 grams. Others think that mandatory treatment should be part of the equation.
This issue has come up a lot this year and no doubt many politicians want to see it moved from the headlines to the pages of New York’s legislative history. Still, the mixes of forces at play may make compromise hard. Republicans, Democrats, marijuana advocates, minority leaders and law enforcement are all weighing in. Governor Cuomo is said to have a gift for greasing the wheels, let see if he can turn his reforms into palatable laws this session.