Battle Brewing Over Cuomo's Pot Penalty Proposal
Some lawmakers in Albany say they are ready to battle Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the governor's definition of what exactly is a small amount of marijuana.
Right now, being caught with 25 grams or less of the drug in public could lead to a misdemeanor charge, but Cuomo is pushing to reduce that penalty to a violation and fine.
Officials say 25 grams is too much to be considered a small amount.
"It's illegal to posses marijuana and somebody shouldn't be able to just walk around with like 10 joints in each ear like you would have a cigarette behind your ear," Sen. Joe Griffo said.
That sentiment is echoed by some local law enforcement officials, including Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns.
"The amount is too much," Burns said. "He's talking anything less than 25 grams. Twenty-five grams is almost an ounce of marijuana. That's a lot of marijuana."
As it stands now, lawmakers say Cuomo's plan will need work before it could become law.
"I would say in its current form, based on the reports in the media, I would have some issue with just general decriminalization.," Griffo said.
"We would have to look at the amounts and the manner and things of that nature."
Lawmakers may have to do work quickly. Cuomo says he hopes to pass the proposal into law before the end of the legislative session, set to wrap up later this month.
Friday, May 24, 2013, Watertown, NY
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