Wide Divide in Albany Kills Proposal on Marijuana

function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Wide Divide in Albany Kills Proposal on Marijuana');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

  Wide Divide in Albany Kills Proposal on Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on June 20, 2012 at 04:59:45 PT
By Thomas Kaplan and John Eligon 
Source: New York Times  

Albany -- The Democrats who control the State Assembly, many of them black or Latino residents of New York City, saw a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana as a simple matter of justice: too many black and Latino men were being arrested because, after being stopped by the police, they were forced to empty their pockets. But the Republicans who run the State Senate, all of them white and most of them from suburban or rural districts, saw decriminalization differently: as an invitation for young people to use drugs and as a declaration that Albany was soft on crime.
“Marijuana still is a gateway drug to so many other much more dangerous things,” said Senator John J. Flanagan, a Long Island Republican. The differing life experiences, and worldviews, of lawmakers in the two chambers proved too much to overcome in the final days of this legislative session, and on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared his marijuana proposal dead. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said: “You have old folks like me who say, ‘Whoa, the decriminalization of marijuana: What are you saying? Everyone is going to walk around smoking marijuana, and that’s O.K.?’ So I think the Senate got a lot of blowback, pardon the pun.” The demise of the proposal came amid a last-minute push to tie up loose ends before the close of the session, which is scheduled to conclude on Thursday. All legislative seats are on the ballot in the elections this year, and Republican senators have pointedly refused to take up several issues that are avidly sought by Democrats in the Assembly but that might upset conservatives, including the marijuana bill and a measure to raise the state’s minimum wage. Mr. Cuomo unveiled his marijuana proposal two weeks ago, promoting it as a way to end the high number of arrests that result from the stop-and-frisk practice of the New York Police Department. He immediately won the backing of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, as well as the department and prosecutors. With the support of law enforcement, some Democrats and drug-policy advocates said they did not expect the Republican-controlled Senate to stand in the way. “You have the governor of the state, the speaker of the Assembly, the mayor of the city, the police commissioner, all five D.A.’s from the city,” said Harry G. Levine, a sociologist at Queens College who has studied the city’s marijuana arrest practices. “It seemed like if this many powerful people said they wanted X, which wasn’t that big a deal, it should be possible to do it.” But the collapse of the marijuana proposal illustrated an at-times awkward reality about the balance of power in Albany: Legislation eagerly sought by New York City can easily be torpedoed by lawmakers from upstate, even when the legislation largely affects only residents of the city. The marijuana measure would have had an impact mostly on city residents because, of the more than 50,000 low-level marijuana arrests in New York State last year, 9 in 10 occurred in the city, according to state data. In private discussions about the marijuana bill, Senate Republicans raised concerns about the amount of marijuana that Mr. Cuomo’s bill would have allowed people to possess in public without being charged with a misdemeanor — 25 grams. By one calculation, that would produce 63 marijuana cigarettes — one for each member of the Senate next year, as a Republican senator joked at a discussion of the proposal. The Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, said Tuesday that it was possible the Senate would revisit the marijuana issue next year, and he denied that he felt political pressure to block the bill. “All I know is my son was thrilled to see me on ‘The Daily Show,’ ” Mr. Skelos said, referring to a television segment that lampooned his resistance to the measure. But supporters of the marijuana proposal were not pleased. Assemblywoman Rhoda S. Jacobs, a Democrat who represents Flatbush, Brooklyn, said Republicans were blinded by ideology and ignoring the likelihood that their own constituents used marijuana. “Their posture and the way they are perceived is to be very law and order,” she said. “Everybody who’s got a college kid probably is turning a blind eye to the fact that kids are experimenting.” Mr. Cuomo, who has at times been accused of not paying enough attention to the concerns of black and Latino lawmakers, won widespread applause for tackling the marijuana issue and, in doing so, giving more public attention to the growing criticism of the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics. But Assemblywoman Inez D. Barron, a Democrat representing East New York and parts of Canarsie and Brownsville in Brooklyn, said the governor had not pushed the issue vigorously enough in the past two weeks. “It’s not a critical issue to him, but it is for our communities, and we understand it,” Ms. Barron said. “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.” Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo argued that his marijuana bill was the kind of proposal, like same-sex marriage, that would take time to persuade lawmakers to support. “Many of the large issues, social issues, they don’t happen over a period of weeks,” he said. “It takes a period of months, sometimes a period of years.” A version of this article appeared in print on June 20, 2012, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: Wide Divide Kills Proposal On Marijuana.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Thomas Kaplan and John EligonPublished: June 20, 2012Copyright: 2012 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help    

Comment #14 posted by afterburner on June 21, 2012 at 11:52:55 PT
U. S. Senator Ron Wyden Proposes Hemp Amendment
Amendment 2220 to the federal farm bill (S. 3240).Sen. Ron Wyden calls for decriminalization of industrial hemp farming.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer.
Learn more: / By Scott Thill.
10 Great Reasons to Kill Our Absurd Ban on Growing Hemp.
The only people who oppose the cultivation of industrial hemp are anti-cannabis bureaucracies, politicians, drug-testing companies and U.S. law enforcement.
June 19, 2012 need the jobs!!!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by ekim on June 21, 2012 at 09:19:50 PT
more on Stop and Frisk
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by runruff on June 21, 2012 at 08:11:49 PT
George Sr. and friends started this..
Ol, George was in on the plan from the beginning. and here; Also Babs grabbed up the Commissary with an exclusive contract in the name of Keefer Ind.;
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on June 21, 2012 at 07:47:43 PT
NY state
do a search on this article - it does not contain the word "prison" or the word "jail". The NY Times wants you to think that cannabis is some silly political football. No, the reason the legislature defends prohibition is because of the prison industry. We have decimated the manufacturing industry we had in upstate New York. It was once the home to the world's leading optical and electrical manufacturers, among many others.Now these rural legislators rely on their payments from the local prisons. They even need the prisoners to inflate their population numbers. It's a terrible model of exploitation of these poor young people, filling prisons cells like human livestock.I also believe that these many of these Democrats that appear to support these reforms are only doing so because they know the Repubs will kill it. Otherwise how can you explain that the reform NEVER gets done, decade after decade, the prisons remain overflowing.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 21, 2012 at 05:30:59 PT
Meet Marijuana’s Semi-Famous Superdonors
June 21, 2012As political causes go, legalizing pot isn’t as glitzy as re-electing Barack Obama. Sarah Jessica Parker and George Clooney are not on marijuana’s A-list. 
But with marijuana initiatives on state ballots in Colorado and Washington in 2012, after Prop. 19′s failure in California in 2010, pot enjoys the financial backing of a small cadre of semi-famous people. Here they are: • Peter Lewis, chairman, Progressive Insurance. Lewis’ company carries a small hint of lefty flavor, from its name to its casual corporate dress code, and Lewis himself is marijuana’s biggest financial backer. After supporting California’s Prop. 19 legalization campaign in 2010, Lewis has given far more than any other individual donor to the campaigns in Colorado and Washington — $875,650 and $650,000 respectively. • David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. Those earthy-looking hemp soaps, sold at Whole Foods, could be more profitable if the company didn’t have to import its hemp from Canada, and David Bronner, son of the original Dr. Bronner, is an avid hemp activist, most recently getting arrested outside the White House after firefighters had to cut him out of a metal cage in which he locked himself in protest. Bronner has pledged $50,000 to the Colorado legalization campaign, according to an official, although his donation hasn’t yet been made official. • Rick Steves, author and TV host, Rick Steves’ Europe. He might be the best known American expert on European travel, with dozens of books on travel destinations and a travel series on public television. He also wants pot to be legal. While Steves himself hasn’t contributed to either legalization initiative in 2012, the committee to promote Washington’s ballot initiative has reported taking in $150,000 from his company, Rick Steves’ Europe, since last year. • George Zimmer, founder and CEO, Men’s Wearhouse. You’re gonna like the way your state looks with legalized marijuana: George Zimmer guarantees it. The Men’s Wearhouse CEO has not donated to either of this year’s state campaigns, but he backed Prop. 19 in California in 2010 to the tune of $50,000, and he’s known as a major supporter of pot legalization.Copyright: 2012 ABC News Internet VenturesURL:
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 21, 2012 at 05:08:14 PT

You've got mail. I'll remove your email address now.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 21, 2012 at 05:07:14 PT

Drug Check Points
My husband went thru one a few weeks ago and they are looking for people driving drunk. They check your insurance and things like that but it is really about alcohol.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by Canis420 on June 20, 2012 at 21:33:43 PT:

Cop Stops
They can stop us all they want but without probable cause they cant come in. We can ALWAYS denie a search. Suwanee County is still pretty bassackwards, I hunt up that way. Ive never seen a drug stop in Pinellas County Fl. We have alcohol stops and they ask to look but I always say no (freakin way)!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by GeoChemist on June 20, 2012 at 19:53:24 PT

Hi FoM,
Would you please email me at .....
Hope all is well.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by Hope on June 20, 2012 at 11:07:55 PT

Do I hate cops?
No way! I like a bunch of them... not because they're cops, but because I know them and like them and respect them. I love a bunch of them... because they are worthy of it and some are my relatives. But that doesn't mean I don't recognize the danger that out of control government and it's law enforcers can be. They can be a real danger to a nation and the freedom and liberty of it's citizenry and we must always be wary of such. I believe in police. I believe they are necessary for a large society and I fully know that there is real crime. Crime against persons and property. Drug enterprises and cannabis enterprises that are not used against or on anyone against their will, and free will use should not be considered crimes. At all. Ever.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by Hope on June 20, 2012 at 10:54:03 PT

Setting up tricks, nets, and traps
to catch large numbers of citizens for victimless and suspicionless "crimes" is wrong. Like The GCW said, "It's like raiding random homes trying to find some unidentified and unreported crime.Gah! Free country? A respected citizenry? Or a bunch of trapped, bullied animals that are subject to the whims of a bunch of armed persecutors?
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 20, 2012 at 09:23:17 PT

We Have Drug Check Stops
They do those all the time in my state and in West Virginia and have for years.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by bullhead on June 20, 2012 at 08:27:55 PT:

Drug stop
The police in Suwannee County Florida all the time. Put up a drug stop sign and see who freaks out first!
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by The GCW on June 20, 2012 at 05:18:45 PT

Lost rights
US CO: EDITORIAL: Dubious random drug checks by Westminster policeWebpage:
Pubdate: Wednesday 20, June 2012Last week's drug checkpoint on U.S. 36 by Westminster police was wrong in the same way raiding random homes would be. Cont.If police pull a motorist over for a traffic violation, fine. That's their job. But what if they pull someone over when their real desire is to search the car for drugs — not because they have probable cause but as part of a random drug checkpoint?
That's what Westminster police did last week, the Boulder Daily Camera reported. They set out signs saying "Drug Checkpoint Ahead" on U.S. 36 and stopped 23 cars for what police spokesman Trevor Materasso described as "some identified violation."
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment