Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended on Wednesday that New York should get rid of criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession. He said the “dramatic shift in public opinion” warrants the change. In his 383-page report for his 2017 plans, the recommendation is listed.
Almost 90-percent of marijuana charges in 2016 were for possession, not sales, according to The Washington Times. Under Governor Cuomo’s recommendation, possession for personal use of marijuana would be decriminalized. Sales of marijuana would still be illegal and charged as a criminal offense.
Governor Cuomo said, “The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York State, but data consistently shows that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety. The criminal penalties that too often result in the over-prosecution and jailing of nonviolent individuals” should be removed.
Cuomo continued in a written statement with, “This measure reflects the national trend and dramatic shift in public opinion. Whereas other states have sought the full legalization of marijuana, this legislative change will specifically affect the individual users and not reduce penalties on those who illegally supply and sell marijuana.”
More than two-thirds of U.S. police officers believe that marijuana should be legal for personal or medical use. Half of the same law enforcement officials polled also said that marijuana should be legalized across the board.
What’s surprising is that Governor Cuomo has been adamantly against marijuana legalization in New York, but believes decriminalization is the right step to take. He attempted in 2012, but his efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession failed.