I just read an encouraging article about a District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York who is treating marijuana possession up to 15 grams as a violation, not a misdemeanor. Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson issued a press release saying he was going to implement the policy as soon as possible.
“In 2012, 12,732 people were arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Kings County, where blacks were nine times more likely to be arrested for the offense than whites.” according to The Gothamist. New York has been in the news a lot recently because New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has expressed a desire to issue an executive action to legalize medical marijuana in New York…kind of.
An executive action isn’t the same as an actual law that is created by state level bicameralism. A bill has to be introduced into one of the Congressional chambers, then after it passes in one chamber, it has to pass then other chamber. Then the bill goes on to the Governor for their signature. It’s a good step that Andrew Cuomo is pursuing, but it’s nothing that can’t be undone by another executive action by the next politician that replaces him eventually.
Cuomo’s plan also calls for hospitals to operate like dispensaries, which the logistics that go along with that are a bit unrealistic in my opinion. New York patients deserve a real medical marijuana program. Or even better, real legalization. For now it’s encouraging to read about isolated cases like District Attorney Ken Thompson. But until real reform is achieved, the entire country needs to keep their eyes on New York and keep support and pressure as high as possible.