Last year the New York governor promoted the idea but it met with resistance in the state Senate, where they killed the bill. Now that see the sun continued to rise following the recent legalization votes in Washington and Colorado, maybe resistance will go away in New York.
Today, marijuana possession is the number one arrest in New York City. The governor cited the harmful outcomes of these arrests – racial disparities, stigma, fiscal waste, criminalization – and called on the legislature to act: “It’s not fair, it’s not right. It must end, and it must end now.”
A powerful statewide coalition of community groups, faith and civil rights leaders, parents and young people applauded the Governor’s strong leadership in tackling this issue.
“We cannot have the same laws applied differently to different groups of people when the dividing line is race,” said Gabriel Aayegh, New York state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “The governor’s proposal is an essential step towards bringing greater fairness and equity to both our drug laws and policing practices in our state. The criminalization of our young people must end — the legislature must now act now to pass the governor’s bill.”