Looks like we spoke to soon about the possibility of decriminalization happening within the week, in spite of widespread public support, and backing from both Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg. State lawmakers passed the budget, but without any update to the laws that categorize open-view marijuana as a misdemeanor, rather than a simple violation.
"I think it's unconscionable," said Karim Camara, Chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. According to Camara, the reasons for the stall on this one issue is purely political. Reportedly, State Republicans would only allow a vote on the matter in exchange for an increase in the number of bullets allowed in an ammunition magazine. So.
"This is ugly," added the director of the New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance. "It's ugly and it's embarrassing to be a New Yorker when they can't pass this one simple fix. They just kicked this can down the field before they go on vacation."
The vacation in question is a three-week break for state lawmakers, after which it's still at least theoretically possible that there will be more productive work done on this. "I am gravely disappointed that this budget failed to enact justice for the more than 44,000 individuals arrested last year based on a flawed law," said Camara.
So, that's terrible. Stoner jokes aside, for once, it is actually pretty despicable that an actively destructive policy that no one in power even supports anymore is this hard to clear up. I guess we were expecting too much.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.