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Did Getting Arrested For Marijuana Change New York Lawmaker’s Position?

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steve-katz new york marijuanaOn Wednesday, in an unofficial 80-59 vote, the New York Assembly passed legislation to reduce the penalty for publicly holding a small amount of marijuana. Only one Republican assembly member voted in favor of the bill: Steve Katz.

Originally a staunch prohibitionist, Katz voted against allowing medical marijuana in 2012, but a brush with the law this past March seems to have brought about a change of heart.

The state police stopped Katz for speeding on the state thruway and subsequently found less than 25 grams of marijuana in his vehicle; he later failed a drug test. Fortunately for the assemblyman, in accordance with a favorable plea deal, his drug charges will be dismissed after he completes a mere 20 hours of community service (and keeps out of legal trouble for six months).

Katz declined to discuss his vote on Wednesday when approached in the Assembly chamber. However, he did issue a statement later in the day saying he hopes the bill leads to “a broader discussion of our state’s policies.”

The bill, if passed, would lower the penalty for the public possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation. It now faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.

Source: Marijuana Policy Projectmake a donation

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4 Comments

  1. Chris Furney on

    A guy got a job as a sailor. They’d been at sea for a few months, and the guy asked “What do you guys do if you get, uh, lonely out here”? The other guys told him to use the bunghole in this barrel that was below. He put it off for a while, and then one day he tried it. “Wow” he thought- that barrel isn’t half bad! So he tried it a few more times- great stuff. So then he told the guys thanks and how much fun he’d been having with the barrel. He asked “What’s the catch?” The guys said “You can’t use the barrel on Wednesdays.” “Why not?” the guy asked. “Because on Wednesdays, it’s your turn in the barrel.” Welcome to your turn in the barrel, expletiver. You’ll be lucky if they don’t take your kids, too, because you’re so heinous. Wish maybe you’d have voted to lighten up those pot laws now?

  2. The “face” of marijuana use must change. As long as it can be foisted off as being the problem of the lower class it will be seen as a menace. Once the face becomes one of the middle class it will then be seen as normalized and acceptable. I remember reading an old Readers Digest article about the menace of marijuana when it was being used by musicians in New York in the 40’s. Musicians were an under class and this despicable habit was coming to your town.
    As long as personal use is like masturbation (everybody does it but nobody talks about it) there can be no progress in changing the attitudes of the Great American middle class.
    Katz has to be given a certain amount of credit. He could have come out as having had a religious conversion brought about by his getting caught and asked for “forgiveness.” This is also very big among the ruling class and seems to be reasonably effective with the so called Christian Right; i.e. out of country plugging your mistress while your wife thinks your hiking in Smokey Blues. Katz could have taken that tack and played shameless; something that politicians are also good at doing.

  3. I agree. By his facial expression, he probably needs to toke up a little more often, although x-lax may do a better job. But then, he’d just melt away like alot of other polititians.

  4. Oops! He would rather just be another conservative hypocrite, but has been BUSTED for violating the very same laws he supported, so that’s no longer an option. If every federal politician were forced to admit the truth about their personal and family marijuana use, it would be re-scheduled tomorrow.

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