Is New York Weed Decriminalization Finally Here?

03/20/2013 9:30 AM |

HAND it over, son. Har har har.
  • HAND it over, son. Har har har.

State lawmakers are hunkered down in Albany this week trying to finalize a new state budget, which is pretty run of the mill, as these things go. Some of the details are boring and some — like the potential boost of state minimum wage to $9 per hour — are pretty fascinating and important. What’s really hanging in the balance though, is an easing up of state law as it applies to weed possession.

We’re still a long way from full-blown legalization, but the change of open-view possession of small amounts to a violation rather than a misdemeanor would be a major boon to the city, both as a way to cut down unnecessary arrests, and to save the significant money and time wasted on said arrests.

Anyway, it looks like we’ll have to wait until the weekend for a final verdict on all things budget-related, but Sheldon Silver has already told reporters, “Hopefully there’ll be white smoke soon.” We’re choosing to view it as a weed joke, not a pope joke. It’s better this way.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.