Decriminalize small amounts ‘nickels’ of marijuana in New York: Governor Cuomo

June 4th, 2012

NewsRescue– New York state governor Andrew Cuomo is asking for state legislators to legalize the public possession of small amounts of marijuana, called ‘nickels’ or ‘nickel-bags’ in popular slang.

He expressed the need for this due to the disproportionate misdemeanor charges against blacks and Hispanics who are more likely to be harassed or ‘frisked’ and arrested due to possession.

New York is known for its rather frustrating and de-humanizing ‘stop and frisk’ activity of its officers, exclusively involving black and Hispanic youth. Several protests and demonstrations have been held against this policy which police enact simply to search for these tiny ‘nickle-bags,’ and arrest the states colored youth.

CNN reports:

“…according to a statement from the governor’s office — the legislation “brings consistency and fairness” to New York’s marijuana laws.

“There is a blatant inconsistency. If you possess marijuana privately it is a violation, if you show it in public it’s a crime. It’s incongruous. It’s inconsistent the way it has been enforced,” Cuomo told reporters at a press conference in Albany on Monday.

In 1977, New York’s legislature reduced the penalty for possessing 25 grams or less of marijuana to a non-criminal violation carrying a fine of no more than $100 for first-time offenders — as long as the marijuana was in private possession and not in public view.

If the marijuana is out and viewable in public — as it might be when someone is asked to empty his or her pockets during a so-called police “stop and frisk” — it becomes a Class B misdemeanor.

Selling and smoking or burning marijuana is still a crime, and Cuomo is not suggesting changing that.

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