NY Gov Cuomo Said To Seek Decriminalization Of Small Amounts Of Pot

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will ask legislators to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana that are in public view, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The measure is aimed at reducing the number of people arrested for possessing pot when they’re stopped by police, according to the official, who said he isn’t authorized to speak about the governor’s plans publicly. Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat, will announce the move today at a 1 p.m. press conference, the person said.

Cuomo’s initiative would put New York among more than a dozen states that have taken similar action, including California and Connecticut. A bill that would decriminalize possession of 15 grams (0.5 ounces) or less of marijuana was approved by a New Jersey Assembly committee last month.

New York’s Legislature in 1977 reduced the penalty for possessing 25 grams or less of pot to a violation that carries a fine of as much as $100 for first-time offenders. It’s still a misdemeanor if the drug is viewed in public, which happens when someone is asked to empty his or her pockets during a police stop.

The Cuomo administration official declined to define how much a small amount of pot is. Rich Bamberger, Cuomo’s communications director, declined to comment on the issue. The governor’s decriminalization plans were reported today by the New York Times. (NYT)

– Read the entire article at Bloomberg.