Yesterday, Republicans in the State Senate took the bulk of the blame for killing a proposed law that would decriminalize the possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana. As you may know, possession of this amount was decriminalized in 1977 in New York, as long as it's not in open view. Governor Cuomo's proposal—which had the support of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council, five District Attorneys and criminal justice advocates—would have closed a loophole that has resulted in the arrest of tens of thousands of people, predominately young men of color, after they're forced to empty their pockets during a stop-and-frisk.
While Cuomo was applauded for introducing the proposal two weeks ago, not everyone thinks his heart was really in it. Assemblywoman Inez Barron, a Democrat representing East New York and parts of Canarsie and Brownsville in Brooklyn, tells the Times, "It’s not a critical issue to him, but it is for our communities, and we understand it. I believe that he’s playing a game of trying to enhance his political stature by not pushing the Republicans. He doesn’t want to expend a political favor by asking them to really come forth and support this bill."
In his own defense, Cuomo said his marijuana bill was "the kind of proposal, like same-sex marriage, that would take time to persuade lawmakers to support." Speaking to the Times, he said, "Many of the large issues, social issues, they don’t happen over a period of weeks. It takes a period of months, sometimes a period of years." Ever notice how time seems to slow to a crawl whenever marijuana is involved?