New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that the state will loosen laws pertaining to people in possession of small amounts of marijuana.
But last year, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered officers to issue violations, rather than misdemeanors, for small amounts of marijuana found during a search.
Bloomberg said Cuomo’s proposal—to be announced at 1 p.m. in the Red Room—would be in line with Kelly’s directive. Kelly is expected at the Capitol for the announcement.
“The governor’s proposal today is consistent with the commissioner’s directive, and strikes the right balance by ensuring that the NYPD will continue to have the tools it needs to maintain public safety -– including making arrests for selling or smoking marijuana,” Bloomberg said in a statement today.
Cuomo’s proposal would lower the penalty for public possession of a small amount of marijuana, reducing it from a misdemeanor to a violation, according to reports. In 1977, the state reduced possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana to a violation, but he remained a misdemeanor if the marijuana was in plain view or burning.
A violation comes with a ticket and a fine; a misdemeanor comes with an arrest. The New York Times first reported about Cuomo’s plans.