NY Governor Cuomo Reaffirms Commitment to Marijuana Decriminalization

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director January 9, 2013

    In his State of the State address, delivered this morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reaffirmed his commitment to reforming his state’s marijuana laws. The governor proposed decriminalizing the possession of 15 grams of marijuana in public view to a civil violation. Currently only possession of marijuana in private is decriminalized, possession in public view is still currently a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 with a maximum sentence of 90 days.

    “These arrests stigmatize, they criminalize, they create a permanent record. It’s not fair, it’s not right, it must end and it must end now,” Governor Cuomo stated.

    Last year, the Governor declared his support for a similar proposal, but was unable to gather significant support in the state legislature by the end of the year. NORML applauds Governor Cuomo’s commitment to the issue and we were glad to see him putting the topic front and center in a prominent speech.

    You can view Governor Cuomo’s speech on C-SPAN here.

    59 responses to “NY Governor Cuomo Reaffirms Commitment to Marijuana Decriminalization”

    1. Tom says:


      Wake me when he comes out in support of a MMJ program in NY, or better yet a legalization measure.

      That will ensure me a nice long slumber, until he is out of office.

    2. TheOracle says:

      It’s far too little.

    3. Dave says:

      Another no brainer that should have been done twenty years ago.

    4. William says:

      Well, NY has a “turn out your pockets” law, so if someone has marijuana in their pocket, then they could be arrested for having it out in public. The two laws do not go together. The “turn our your pockets” law needs to go. It’s a heinous violation of personal rights. I am encouraged that the national dialogue on prohibition has turned serious. The dominoes are going to continue to fall.

      [Paul Armentano responds: The measure Gov. Cuomo is proposing is meant to reform this specific practice.]

    5. WitchoftheWilds says:

      🙁 I don’t know why everyone so far seems unimpressed or even disappointed. I’m optimistic about this, this is a lot better than a lot of places and a great step in the right direction, as well as brave for the Governor to come out about! I am for one very pleased that he not only affirmed it, but reaffirmed. 😀

    6. Voice of the Resistance says:

      Wow this is all so great. How about Idaho? I helped circulate a MMJ petition for Compassionate Idaho last year, but it failed not enough signatures. Activists in Boise have plans for another one in 2014 and I will get in touch with them. Marijuana legalization all the way. And please you guys at Norml do the talking. I have a very rude employer to deal with right now, and would like nothing more then justice!

    7. somedood says:

      Decriminalization is not Legalization. I find this kind of attempt to be the worst kind of action. He is saying he knows your sick of it but how bout we just punish you a little less…

    8. Dave says:

      Saying Marijuana is not dangerous is not an example of “bravery”. Running into a burning building to save someone trapped inside is “bravery”.

      Twenty years ago, it could have been considered “brave” for a policatian to take this position, now it is just too little too late. A whole generation has gone by while this corruption has stayed in place.

    9. Dave says:

      Are they going to expunge all the wrongful convictions? If not, it is just too little too late and the problems already in place not being dealt with.

      “These arrests stigmatize, they criminalize, they create a permanent record. It’s not fair, it’s not right, it must end and it must end now,” Governor Cuomo stated.

      Well Cuomo, start issuing the pardons!

    10. aameranth says:

      Hey Governor Cuomo,

      That’s not good enough. Be a man. Be brave. Start talking about writing a bill to completely legalize marijuana in the great state of NY.