Is New York the land of opportunity?
First and foremost congrats to New York Lawmakers for taking a stand and declaring that enough is enough in regards to cannabis prohibition and it’s unnecessary enforcement. It’s disheartening to see our own Connecticut legislators drag their feet, only to procrastinate when our state needs a new economic opportunity to help us out of our fiscal pitfall. It wasn’t that long ago that Connecticut’s stance on cannabis was thought as being progressive. Here we are today and in less than 6 months New York has leapfrogged us on the topic.
Connecticut taxpayer need legislators in Hartford to put aside their petty squabbles, stop fighting each other and do the duties they were elected to perform! Connecticut is hemorrhaging money and we are losing quality of life as residents, no solution should demand more taxes from residents. While we still play the waiting game, New York stands to become 10th state to legalize marijuana if the governor and lawmakers act.
So what is keeping hope alive across the state border? Yesterday, it was announced that the Governor’s Health Commissioner, Howard Zucker, will recommend that the state allow adults to consume marijuana legally as an outcome of a sponsored study commission by Governor Cuomo.
“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons,” Dr. Zucker said, adding, “we have new facts.”
This is outstanding news and a major blow to those in opposition to legalization. As more and more credible resources start looking at cannabis from a scientific standpoint, we will only solidify the bedrock needed to end federal prohibition.
This is not the only outstanding news out of the “Empire State.”
Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to discuss a new policy in enforcement of low-level cannabis crimes. This follows a recent statistic which was released that found that people of color were 4x more likely to be charged with cannabis related crimes. It was only after critics accused the prior policy of targeting minorities and for being too harsh, that the city made it a priority of the administration.
“The way we handle marijuana in New York City is irrational, insane and unfair,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. I believe a lot of you would agree with this statement.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, New York City’s police department will issue criminal summonses to most people caught smoking marijuana in public, with the exception of parolees. Anyone caught driving while smoking and offenders with prior warrants will still be arrested.
The city is projecting that the changes will reduce marijuana arrests by more than 10,000 annually. The NYPD arrested more than 22,650 people for smoking marijuana last year. Summonses result in a $100 fine and require the person to attend summons court. Critics have focused on police marijuana enforcement. Marijuana-related arrests have fallen 32 percent over the past four years, but the department, City Council members and others have pressed the police after data showed 87 percent of those arrested for smoking in public last year were black or Hispanic.
Hopefully soon, will know more of what the new policy will entail. Until then, standby to standby.