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Governor Andrew Cuomo

Marijuana Industry News The month of january 10, 2014


Alaska Can Become Third Condition to Legalize Leisure Marijuana…
With what has become a well known trend, there’s now discussion of legalizing leisure marijuana in Alaska.  Public support for legal marijuana appears to become growing because the group Campaign to manage Marijuana could collect 45,000 signatures, 15,000 greater than the needed 30,000 to obtain a legalisation initiative towards the ballot for August.  Some signatures might be considered invalid, out of the box the situation with many signature drives, however the prospects of getting Alaska citizens voting around the measure appears most likely now.  Among the initiative’s sponsors, Tim Hintenberger, stated “The suggested initiative will require marijuana sales from the subterranean market and them in legitimate, taxpaying companies.”
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National football league Commissioner Indicates Chance of Permitting Medicinal Marijuana for Patients…

The National football league has had a lot of critique because of its tolerance of binge consuming and lightweight punitive measures for gamers charged with DUIs because they concurrently lower the hammer on the least heavy marijuana infringements.  Using its macho alpha male attitude, the National football league hasn’t exactly been considered to be a progressive organization.  This is actually the same league that will not make significant equipment changes to be able to improve safety because of its gamers. Fortunately, Commissioner Roger Goodell,leaves the doorway available to possibly permitting gamers received medicinal marijuana in states where it’s legal.  He lately stated “I have no idea what’s likely to develop so far as the following chance for medicine to evolve and also to help either cope with discomfort or help cope with injuries, but we continuously offer the evolution of drugs.Inches
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Many Demand Governor Cuomo to complete more in New You are able to…
Once we pointed out yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo includes a practice of trying out the political waters before fully taking any plunge.  Although he signed off with an executive order that will restore legislation from 1980 enabling a number of hospitals in New You are able to condition to problem medicinal marijuana to patients, the machine may likely not serve many patients.  Many activists are upset and therefore are accusing the Governor of not doing enough.  Many ill patients won’t be eligible for a relief and also the Governor didn’t address getting an finish to “Stop and Frisk”.  The Governor did try to address the problem this past year, but was met with considerable resistance from Albany congress.  Gabriel Singh, from the New You are able to chapter from the Drug Policy Alliance was critical of Mr. Cuomo shedding the push to repair “Stop and Frisk”.  He lately stated “For Cuomo to retreat from that problem, it’s disgusting, frankly.”  Governor Cuomo has shown to be a really calculated politician which is unlikely that this is actually the final stage from the marijuana reform, but he’ll risk upsetting many until he will get more reform measures passed.

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Marijuana Industry News December 13, 2013

Uruguay flag

Uruguay Becomes First Nation to Legalize Marijuana…

The story has been developing for a long time but now it looks official. Uruguay will become the first nation to legalize recreational marijuana.  Uruguay, like many other countries in Central and South America, is attempting to rectify the growing problems related to failed marijuana policy, including the brutal cartel violence.  This week, Uruguay Senators voted 16-13 to legalize and regulate marijuana.  The idea has been championed by Uruguay President, Jose Mujica.  His wife, Senator Lucía Topolansky told Reuters “We begin a new experience in April. It involves a big cultural change that focuses on public health and the fight against drug trafficking.”  Residents, 18 and over, will be able to purchase up to 40 grams per month so long as they are properly registered.

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New York State Lawmakers Considering a Legal Marijuana Industry…

The marijuana conversation in New York has been front and center over the course of the past year in New York.  Unfortunately, most of the focus has been on “Stop and Frisk”, the NYPD’s ruthless strategy to work around a decriminalization law passed in the 1970s.  New York allows possession of up to 25g to be considered a civil citation, punishable by a ticket.  However, the law does not allow for the cannabis to be in plain sight in order to prevent public consumption.  The NYPD tells individuals to empty their pockets.  Refusing to do so is illegal while following the officer’s instructions puts the marijuana in plain sight, where the charges will escalate.  NY State Senator Liz Krueger wishes to put an end to the unjust practices that overwhelmingly target minority residents.  She recently introduced a bill that would create a legal recreational marijuana market similar to Colorado and Washington, complete with state oversight and tax revenues.  She recently said publicly that “There is marijuana usage and there has been forever and we have to stop wasting lives and wasting police power and our courts.”  It is not clear yet if the bill will have enough votes or support from Governor Cuomo to pass.

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Poll Shows California Support for Recreational Marijuana Law is Increasing…

While California residents have been pioneers in medical marijuana, having passed Proposition 215 (California Compassionate Use Act) in 1996, support for legalizing recreational use has taken far longer to grow.  A majority of residents, even up to a few years ago actually were against legalization.  Recently those numbers have been much more evenly split.  The newest polling on the issue shows a majority of California residents now outright support legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana.  A Field Poll found that 55% of California residents support legalizing.  Residents may get their chance to do more than answer survey questions as serious efforts are underway to bring the issue to the ballot for residents to vote on next year. Mark A.R. Kleiman is a Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He is considered an expert on  drug policy and recently said “Debating about whether to legalize now is pointless, because we’re going to.  The smart debate is about how we’ll do it.”


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Marijuana Industry News May, 31 2013

brain scan

Study: Medicinal Marijuana Prevents Brain Damage…

Medicinal marijuana had certainly made the situation by itself like a great discomfort, anxiety,  and stress reliever.  Preventing brain damage can also be put into the constantly growing listing of conditions medicinal marijuana  can help with.  In research on rodents, marijuana was proven to safeguard the mind from damage connected with seizures, toxic drug exposure, and deficiencies in oxygen.  Josef Sarne, of Tel Aviv College, made the findings.  Many are looking forward to the potential for these studies.  It may even become for marijuana to become given before dangerous surgical procedures in an effort to offer greater protection for that brain.  Mr.  Sarne also feels marijuana is an efficient tool in testing epileptic seizures.

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Activists Pushing for Legal Marijuana in Tigard Maine…

There already have been substantial conversations regarding legal and controlled marijuana within the condition of Maine.  Portland citizens might not wait for a condition to come to a decision and it is thinking about legalizing small quantities of marijuana.  The activist group,  People for any Safer Tigard,  are leading the charge to gather enough signatures to obtain the problem towards the ballot.  Over 3,200 signatures happen to be posted while 1,500 are essential.  Assuming the condition validates an adequate amount of the signatures, voters will ultimately determine if marijuana becomes legal.  Tom Macmillan belongs to the coalition and lately stated “The citizens of Maine’s biggest city strongly offer the finish of marijuana prohibition for grown ups, just like alcohol prohibition ended decades ago.”

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NY Congress Approve Law to repair Stop and Frisk and Truly Decriminalize…

New York’s lengthy running Stop and Frisk cleaning soap opera might be visiting and finish.  The condition set up has approved legislation,  by a margin of 80-59, that will close the plain sight loophole frequently utilized by cops.  Only hidden marijuana is decriminalized in New You are able to Condition.  Officers frequently demand that people (who’re extremely Black and Hispanic) empty their pockets simply to arrest them marijuana in public places view.  The bill will go prior to the condition senate.  That might be probably the most challenging political hurdle as New You are able to Governor,  Andrew Cuomo, has openly supported closing the loophole.

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Marijuana Industry News April 26, 2013

tom ammiano

California Condition Set up Committee Passes Medicinal Marijuana Regulation Bill…


The legislative mess that signifies California’s medicinal marijuana law continues to be well recorded.  Since Proposition 215 was passed in 1996, when medicinal marijuana was initially legalized in California,government bodies, patients and collectives have observed a lot of confusion regarding what is allowable underneath the law. The possible lack of proper regulation has permitted illegitimate collectives to thrive while well intentioned institutions have frequently found trouble.  Condition Assemblyman, Tom Ammiano introduced AB 473, an invoice to possess California’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Control oversee a lot of this program.  He walked from an identical bill this past year when congress tried to give a provision to permit cities to prohibit shops.  Now, condition set up committee passed  AB473 the 2009 week.  It’s unclear whether it can survive the whole political process and be law.


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Michigan Congress Introduce Decriminalization Bill…


Michigan has already established probably the most progressive marijuana laws and regulations around the books.  Attorney General Bill Schuette had attempted to battle against medical and native decriminalization laws and regulations despite citizens outwardly supporting reform measures.  It seems his efforts may fail short as state-wide decriminalization bill with bi partisan support continues to be introduced.  Democratic Condition Repetition. Shaun Irwin features an invoice that considerably reduce the seriousness of low-level marijuana possession charges.  For individuals caught with under one ounce, the penalty will be a civil infraction along with a fine.  Presently, individuals with no valid marijuana prescription caught with similar amount could address annually of incarceration along with a misdemeanor charge.  Repetition. Irwin lately stated “Even though we are investing no less than $325 million annually on arresting, trying and incarcerating marijuana customers within this condition, we all know marijuana has not been more available. We all know that police force is not effective at keeping marijuana from the hands of anybody within this condition.” The balance has got the support of some Republican congress within the condition government too, including Repetition. Mike Shirkey.  Mr. Shirkey spoke concerning the bill lately and stated “This is actually the proper time to possess this debate in Michigan.  “We are using lots of money, energy and assets in Michigan and nationwide to complete something we have unsuccessful at.”


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NY Condition Set up Committee Passes bill to Legalize Medicinal Marijuana…


Despite the fact that most of New You are able to citizens have supported medicinal marijuana for quite some time,  there continues to be little movement around the problem.  Recently, however,  NY political figures appear to become conditioning their stance.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has began to guide electric power charge toward reform and it has notoriously adopted stop and frisk.  Now a committee in the condition set up has transpired a medicinal marijuana bill.  The election was almost unanimous and went by a margin of 21-4.  New You are able to congress have battled to obtain previous medicinal marijuana bills off the floor.  However, Gabriel Sayegh, director of recent York’s Drug Policy Alliance feels things may change soon.  He told news shops “I believe it is becoming progressively obvious that regarding medicinal marijuana, New You are able to is actually behind the occasions.”  He continued to state “We still heavily criminalize it, yet we’re encircled by states which are permitting medicinal marijuana.”  There’s been lots of movement recently within the northeast also it appears only dependent on time before NY joins the growing listing of states enabling using medicinal marijuana


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Marijuana Industry News March 29, 2013


Portugal Decriminalization Yielding Positive Results…

The idea of decriminalizing marijuana has become increasingly popular over the years.  At times, it seems only elected officials are seeking to maintain the failed approach.  The idea of decriminalization and re diverting money while keeping teens out of jail is winning the argument.  Those who support outdated drug laws never seem to take Portugal into consideration.  Twelve years ago, Portugal underwent a major overhaul of their approach to controlled substance regulation.  Even in the midst of many critics, they decided to pass decriminalization laws.  The results are not shocking to activists as Portugal has seen the new laws produce results.  Doctor João Goulão, a former family physician, has contributed a great deal to the new policies.  He recently said that decriminalized laws needed to be considered because “We figured perhaps this way we would be better able get things under control.  Criminalization certainly wasn’t working all that well.”  While the idea enjoys more acceptance today, Dr. Goulão explained that Portugal was a pioneer in their approach over a decade ago.  He said “At the point when we designed the law, we had hardly any data to draw on.  We weren’t the least bit certain this would work.”  The bill passed is referred to as “Law 30/2000” and Dr. Goulão explains that it has been successful.  Specifically he said “This is working. Drug consumption has not increased severely. There is no mass chaos. For me as an evaluator, that’s a very good outcome.”

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Bill to Legalize and Tax Marijuana In Maine receives Support From Many Lawmakers…

With Colorado and Washington’s historic laws to legalize marijuana, it is not surprising that many other states are following their lead.  We at have been pleased to report about all the new states considering decriminalization, legalization, and medical marijuana laws.  Maine has recently introduced a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana.  While it is unclear if the bill will pass, it is making sizable waves in the state government.  There are already 35 co-sponsors for the bill and now it will move to a legislative committee hearing.  If passed, there would be a $50 tax per ounce, with individuals being permitted to posses 2.5 ounces.  Earlier this week, Maine’s political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, David Boyer said Maine can and should take a more sensible approach to marijuana policy and we are glad to see so many legislators agree.”  Another interesting element of the Maine legalization bill is that is was lawmaker initiated.  The legalization laws in Washington and Colorado were voter driven, as activists collected enough signatures to get the laws on the ballot and by a vote of the people.  Maine appears to highlight a turning point, where introducing a marijuana legalization bill no longer hurts and perhaps even enhances their standing with voters.

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Dispensaries May Open this Year in Massachusetts…


It is clear that he northeast region of the United States is becoming a hotbed for marijuana reform.  We have spoken at great length about New Jersey finally getting its medical program off the ground.  Additionally, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo has been fighting hard to reform “stop and frisk” in order for decriminalization laws function as they were intended.  Connecticut has also legalized medical marijuana and just above this story we spoke about Maine considering legalization.  Massachusetts may see the doors open to dispensaries before 2013 is over.  The Massachusetts Department of Health has now filed draft regulations on medical marijuana use and expects to have a finalized version by May.  The Department of Health is expected to start accepting applications for dispensaries over the summer.  Last November, 63% of Massachusetts voters elected to legalize medical marijuana.

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Marijuana Industry News March 22, 2013

tom ammiano

Tom Ammiano Back with New California Legalization Bill…

The lack of a statewide system in place to regulate medical marijuana has plagued California since the program’s inception in 1996.  A patchwork of legal fixes have either been implemented or proposed, but no effort, to date, has really solved the issue.  Federal authorities would likely be less motivated to conduct raids if a uniform set of laws was instituted in California.  Other states, such as Colorado have experienced far less problems with organized crime and federal interference due in large part to proper regulation at the state level.  State Assemblyman, Tom Ammiano, is trying to get a bill passed that would set up a state regulated system.  He has attempted this previously, only to find resistance from both law enforcement and activists.  Many accused his proposal of being too vague.  Mr. Ammiano is back with a new proposal and law enforcement is already issuing criticism.  The bill would have marijuana be regulated like alcohol, an idea that is clearly gaining momentum as both Colorado and Washington have passed similar laws.


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Marijuana Arrests Cost NYC One Million Police Hours During Mayor Bloomberg’s Tenure as Mayor


New York’s “Stop and Frisk”, a legal loophole used by law enforcement to defeat the spirit of the state’s marijuana decriminalization bill, has been receiving considerable media attention as of late.  Community organizers have been vocal in letting NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly know that they do not support the high arrests for small marijuana possession.  These arrests tend to target Black and Hispanic teens.  Governor Cuomo is trying to get Albany lawmakers to adopt new legislation to put an end to “Stop and Frisk”.  A new statistic will likely embolden the Governor and residents who wish to see their tax dollars put to better use.   According to the Drug Policy Alliance, New York City has spent over one million police hours pursuing marijuana arrests since Michael Bloomberg became mayor (11 years ago).   In a city as vast and populated as New York, residents are getting fed up with the direction law enforcement has taken.  Many neighborhoods are still dangerous and police may be able to utilize their time in a way that would help the city.  The relationship between police and residents has degenerated, due in large part to “Stop and Frisk.”


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Push For Medical Marijuana in Florida Gets Huge Financial Support…

Although many associate Florida with retirees, the Sunshine State is also known for its large number of indoor marijuana grows.  Even though penalty and cultivation penalties are harsh in Florida, the black market for marijuana is tremendous, especially as so many seek physical relief.  Past efforts to legalize marijuana in Florida have failed.  However, activists may find more success as they are about to be bankrolled by two top democratic fundraisers in Florida.  One the individuals is John Morgan, who recently became the chairman of the People United for Medical Marijuana-Florida.  The group has previously struggled to raise enough money to get their message out.  Kim Russell, the group’s founder recently said they “were just scraping pennies together” to get by.  John Morgan appears ready to take his successful political fundraising techniques to the group.  Earlier this week he said “I’m prepared to keep raising money and writing checks until I get the signatures to put it on the ballot.”  Political analysts are wondering how influential John Morgan’s fundraising can be, especially as he has raised considerable funds for high profile candidates, including President Barack Obama.

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Marijuana Industry News March 15, 2013

the UN

International Leaders Want U.S. to Go After Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington…

Even as it is clear a vast majority of Americans wish to see marijuana laws reformed, the Federal government has resisted.  One of the most complex situations for federal authorities is permitting legalized marijuana while abiding by international treaties.  In 1961, the U.S. took part in the U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  Officially we are expected to uphold our part as a party of this agreement.  However, the United States has not exactly been weighed down by the past burdens of international treaty.  Raymond Yans, president of the International Narcotics Control Board, recently said that federal law (where marijuana is still illegal, despite state laws on the contrary) was “good, but insufficient.”  The momentum has clearly shifted and now fewer politicians in the United States seems inclined to come on to national airwaves and voice support for the continued and failed War on Drugs.  Whether or not it is correct on the part of the American people, we typically do not respond well to the U.N. lecturing us.  If Raymond Yans decides to come to America and give a speech on how he feels a 50 year old treaty is more important than suffering patients, or individual liberties, it should make for excellent television.


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Mass. Attorney General Dismantles Ban on Dispensaries…

Due to a successful ballot initiative by residents, Massachusetts is one of the newest states to approve the use of medical marijuana.  Of course, controversy soon followed.  Even before any dispensaries have opened, local municipalities have enacted bans.  However, outright bans have been ruled illegal by the attorney general.   A spokesperson for the Massachusetts attorney general’s office said “The act’s legislative purpose could not be served if a municipality could prohibit treatment centers within its borders, for if one municipality could do so, presumably all could do so.”  However, local municipalities will have considerable power in overseeing dispensaries.  They will be able to set out guidelines as to where dispensaries can be located, such as requiring they be a certain distance from schools, parks etc.  This represents a major victory for patients as other states have adopted medical marijuana legislation, only outlaw dispensaries.  This leaves the program in limbo.  Most patients cannot be depended on to cultivate their own effective and safe medicine without the help of dispensaries.


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Governor Andrew Cuomo Includes Marijuana in NY State Budget Discussions…

Last year, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to shift his hard line view on marijuana reform.  The second generation New York governor ran his 2010 campaign with a seemingly inflexible view on marijuana.  However, clarifying New York’s decriminalization law from the 1970s has been gaining momentum, especially in New York City.  While possession of less than 25g is supposed to yield a civil citation (ticket), a loophole has allowed police to slap harsher charges.  However, if marijuana is in plain view, then the offense is escalated to a misdemeanor charge.  A tactic known as “Stop and Frisk”, easily allows police to capitalize on the loophole.  Officers will tell someone to take marijuana out of their pocket, police can then arrest the individual for having it in “plain sight”, even as they were following the instructions of the officer.  The tactic tends to disproportionately target young Hispanic and African Americans even as white teens smoke marijuana in higher numbers, and represent more of the general New York population.  Governor Andrew Cuomo was initially mocked for proposing a solution to “Stop and Frisk”.  He has argued that “plain sight” and concealed possession should both result in a civil citation charge.  The proposal has gained popularity as communities have grown weary from seeing their teens jailed, and having criminal charges following them for the rest of their lives.  Brooklyn Democrat, Karim Camara, echoed the growing sentiment and told reporters  “We’re not only punishing the individual; we’re punishing society.” Mr. Camara cited how difficult it is for teens with a criminal record to get into college.  Additionally, measures that would save the state money (especially post Sandy) are getting their time in the limelight.  As New York state enters into bitter budget negotiations, Governor Cuomo appears to be holding at least a semi hard line on reforming marijuana law.  It is not yet clear how this will play out politically and if this will force state republicans to accept the change in marijuana law.


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NY Governor Cuomo Using Spotlight to Highlight State Marijuana Reform


It has been a busy few months for New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The Obama ally maintained a high profile during the election (he seems to be poised to make his own run for the White House) and campaigned for the president.  Governor Cuomo has also been vocal in his criticism during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy which includes attempting to break up LIPA’s energy monopoly and has demanded that Congress appropriates money to the region to help rebuild.  He has also gotten out in front of the gun debate and is seeking to make pass one of the country’s toughest assault weapon ban.

However, Governor Cuomo has also taken on another important issue.  When Mr. Cuomo first ran for governor he maintained a traditional skepticism to marijuana reform.  He even sounded harshly against any progressive legislation in this area.  Over the course of the past two years his public comments have softened considerably.  Last spring, the governor informed the public that he was seeking to eliminate New York’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy.  This loophole, goes against the spirit New York’s marijuana decriminalization laws that were passed in the 1970s.  Possession of under 25g (concealed) is supposed to result in a civil citation ticket.  However, if marijuana is in “plain sight”, then the charges escalate to a much more severe misdemeanor.

Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo re-affirmed his stance.  On Wednesday, in a public speech he said “The legislature finds that arrests, criminal prosecutions, and criminal penalties are inappropriate for people who possess small quantities of marihuana for personal use. Every year, this process needlessly scars thousands of lives and wastes millions of dollars in law enforcement resources, while detracting from the prosecution of serious crime.”  He also said marijuana arrests that “stigmatize and criminalize must end now.”

Advocates for marijuana reform have been pleased to see Governor Cuomo trying to fix the controversial loophole.  “Stop and Frisk” is used primarily within New York City’s jurisdiction and unevenly targets Blacks and Hispanics, many of whom are teens.  Gabriel Sayegh, New York state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, said “We cannot have the same laws applied differently to different groups of people when the dividing line is race.”  While New York City is known as a progressive haven, the rest of the state has been resistant to making any changes to marijuana laws.  However, with mounting debt and new financial priorities after Hurricane Sandy, New York can no longer afford to lock up so many people who pose no public threat.  Many residents are angry over their tax dollars being used to fill up jails with teens.  We are glad to see the Governor take initiative and if the second generation governor (his father is former NY Governor Mario Cuomo) with obvious presidential aspirations feels he can get this done without political turmoil, then it is obvious that the reform movement has turned a major corner.

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Election Momentum and Hurricane Sandy Damage Could Propel Medical Marijuana in NY

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Activists in New York state are demonstrating that timing truly is everything.  New York residents have indicated that they support decriminalization measures. Reforming marijuana law also has the support of popular/powerful Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has informed New York legislators that they will receive no raise in pay until they fix the devastating “Stop and Frisk” laws.

There has already been considerable momentum across the country to drastically reform marijuana laws following huge victories in Michigan, Colorado, and Washington state.  Albany lawmakers stuck in the previous century have mocked such changes, but may finally see the light.  The entire 2012 election was an eye opener to those who have been unable to notice a changing electorate.  The new voting public no longer wants to waste their money on restricting civil rights and wasting money on the failed War on Drugs.  If New York lawmakers wish to avoid filing for unemployment, they too may want to take note of what direction the country is going.

Besides the election momentum, another high profile event may also force New York to consider cost savings measures.  Hurricane Sandy has devastated the New York City, Westchester, and Long Island areas.  Residents are still trying to recover and it will be along time before places like the Rockaways, Staten Island, Long Beach, Fire Island, or Red Hook will be back to normal.  Governor Cuomo has already requested $30 billion from the federal government, but that may not be enough to entirely rebuild the area.  New York Senator, Diane Savino, of Staten Island (one of the hardest hit areas in NYC) is pushing to make New York the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana.  The Senator recently told the NY Daily News that “There is a huge amount of revenue here.”  The Senator was referring to the many jobs and tax dollars that could be generated from medical marijuana in the Empire State.

They say it’s important to strike while the iron is hot.  There is no better example than New York as reforming marijuana laws are crucial to rebuilding the area.  The public wants change, and the finances need change.  New York is known for setting trends and it could impact the entire country if the state legalized medical marijuana.  The call for reform was growing before well before Sandy as New York has long had budget concerns.  No matter what happens New York will have to take extraordinary steps in order to balance their budget, it may be the perfect time for lawmakers to just listen to the people.

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Governor Cuomo Tells NY Lawmakers They Can Get a Raise if They Fix Marijuana Laws and Minimum Wage

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New York has been a very busy place lately in terms of politics.  Intense preparations were underway for days leading up to this week’s historic presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney at Long Island’s Hofstra University.  Conspicuously absent from the conversation were many issues including the war on drugs and poverty.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has been tackling some of the issues that were have been missing from the presidential bickering.  New York State lawmakers have been salivating for a raise (their last came in 1999) but the Governor told them a raise is out of the question until the working class is taken care of first.  Mr. Cuomo is has been seeking a raise to New York’s minimum wage, and has tied lawmakers salaries to getting the bill done.  Specifically the Governor said “I would not even consider, even consider a pay raise unless the people’s business was being done in a thorough, responsible way.”

The Governor has submitted a complex proposal that also shows New Yorkers he has not forgotten about his vow from the spring to enact marijuana reform.  Several months ago Governor Cuomo was mocked by lawmakers and critics who have not moved beyond the 80 year old talking points against marijuana.  However he was also applauded by those who appreciated his plan to save the state money and to fix New York’s “stop and frisk” program, which is almost exclusively carried out in NYC.  The tactics by police have been criticized by many, including neighborhood advocates who are upset that police almost always target Blacks and Hispanics in the random searches.  “Stop and Frisk” has made national headlines as it considered by many to be against the spirit of New York’s marijuana laws.  Possession of 25 grams of marijuana or less was decriminalized in the 1970s in New York.  Possession under 25 grams is supposed to result in a civil citation ticket, however police have found a way around this.  Marijuana in “open view”, even if less than 25g, can be considered a misdemeanor and carry jail time.  Often, police demand that individuals empty their pockets, and once they do officers make arrests and claim the marijuana was out in the open.

Lawmakers in NY have been slow to take up the issue.  Even as many politicians admit that “Stop and Frisk” goes against the intentions of the state’s marijuana laws, it has been rare to hear comment on the issue.  However, we are in the political season and we are glad to see the Governor engaging in the issues that Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama neglected.  There will be some more shrewd political moves to come, but none may be as interesting as what Governor Cuomo has done.  Like dangling a carrot in front of a mule, the Governor has effectively tied lawmakers salaries to future of workers and marijuana law in New York.  For the first time we expect Albany legislators to start their shift on the issue.

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