Marijuana possession decriminalization is a hot issue in New York state, even though it has been decriminalized for up to 25 grams since 1977. A key provision of that law was that the drug has to be out of the public view. If the drug can be seen, possession becomes a misdemeanor with a potential punishment of incarceration for up to three months. As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” program, New York City residents — often young African-American and Latino males — are randomly stopped and asked to empty their pockets. Once they do, the marijuana that they may be holding is suddenly in public view.
Lawmakers are consider amending the law to make possession in public view simply a violation, not subject to arrest. The proposed legislation only affects New York City.
Note: Possessing a 32-ounce soda is not yet a felony in the Big Apple.
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
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