NY Assembly backs smaller public pot penalty

Posted at: 05/30/2013 8:51 AM

New York's Assembly has passed legislation to reduce the penalty for publicly holding a small amount of marijuana, but the proposal Gov. Andrew Cuomo hopes will curb stop-and-frisk arrests in New York City remains unlikely to pass in the Senate.
The Assembly's bill would reduce public possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana to a ticket, the same as private possession. Smoking marijuana in public is a misdemeanor.
Assemblyman Karim Camara says the current law disproportionately hits young minority men in New York City. He says many are charged after following police instructions to empty their pockets during a stop-and-frisk by police.
Assemblyman Steve Katz, a Hudson Valley Republican who recently had a marijuana possession charge dropped as long as he completes public service, supported the measure.