Cuomo's Proposed Pot Law Creates Controversy

June 5, 2012 Updated Jun 5, 2012 at 9:23 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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June 5, 2012 Updated Jun 5, 2012 at 9:23 AM EDT

Albany, N.Y. (WKBW) – There is a new law in the works to reduce the penalties for people who possess pot. It is not only stirring controversy between lawmakers, but also the public.

Currently, the New York State law says individuals in possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, open to public view, can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor. Private possession of the same amount of the drug is only a violation. This new legislation proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo would make all possession of small amounts of marijuana, public or private, a finable violation.

The Governor said this is a crime that affects young people, specifically the minority population. He claims this law would create fairness and consistency in the way the state deals with a small amount of marijuana possession. It would also stop teens and young adults from getting a charge on their permanent record preventing them from getting jobs and being successful.

“Young person has small amount of marijuana in their pocket, that's a violation, that's a fine. Police officer says turn out your pockets and now it's a crime. Who could defense against that,” Cuomo said.

Even though this new law would make possession of a small amount of marijuana a finable offense, burning the drug in public would still be a misdemeanor.

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