A pair of medical marijuana-related bills are headed to the New York Legislature. Additionally, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana in the state.
In his State of the State address last week, Cuomo outlined a policy to decriminalize possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana in public view. New York has come under fire over the past year or so due to their “stop and frisk” policies; Cuomo knows this new decriminalization would help limit unfair arrests.
“Decriminalize the public view with 15 grams or less so there is fairness and parity in the system and we stop stigmatizing these people, making it harder to find a job, making it harder to get into to school, making it harder to turn their lives around at a very young age,” he explained during his address.
Gov. Cuomo has proposed marijuana decriminalization before, but he initially would have allowed possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana to be decriminalized. It was passed by the Democratic majority in the Assembly, but the GOP-controlled Senate found the limit to be too high. Cuomo hopes that by lowering the limit to 15 grams this time around, more lawmakers may be on board.
In addition to Governor Cuomo’s decriminalization efforts, there are also New York lawmakers pushing for medical marijuana legalization. Senator Diane Savino is currently drafting a medical marijuana bill.
Savino believes she has secured enough votes to get her medical marijuana bill to pass in the Senate.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried is also drafting medical marijuana legislation in the Assembly. He also believes he has enough votes secured to pass his medical marijuana bill.
Despite Governor Cuomo’s support of marijuana decriminalization, his stance on medical marijuana remains unclear. “The governor’s been cautious in his comments,” Savino explained. “He’s not there yet. It’s not an issue that he’s focused on and I’m sure he has a lot of questions.”