New York | Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department endorsed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana on Monday. Top prosecutors joined the chorus of assent, in part thanks to the controversy growing over the city’s “stop-and-frisk” program, which helps the increasingly numbers-driven police reach quotas but has angered civil liberties supporters who say the practice unfairly targets minorities. In 2011 the NYPD made 50,000 arrests for low-level marijuana possession.
“It becomes a question of balance,” Cuomo said of stop-and-frisk. “Part of the balance is the relationship with the community. I think the N.Y.P.D. and the mayor are making efforts to work with the community.” The governor’s proposal would deem the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana a violation instead of a misdemeanor. The accord is a bright spot for the mayor and governor’s camps, as each has suffered recent setbacks: Bloomberg unveiled a polarizing proposal to ban large sugary drinks last week, and Cuomo’s grand plans for a casino and convention center collapsed.