NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems intent on making the Big Apple into a police state served in 16oz portions. The NYPD's controversial Stop-and-Frisk policy—which just so happens to disproportionately target minority youths for random inspection—is another such example. See, New York law states that weed possession isn't a criminal offense (up to 25 grams) so long as it isn't burning or "in the open." However, if being told to turn out your pockets by a cop exposes a joint, well that's shit for you because your weed is now "in the open" and you get to go downtown.
Giving the police the power to essentially force you into self-incrimination isn't sitting well with many folks—especially given that it resulted in more than 50,000 arrests last year (over 400,000 between 2002 and 2011) and made marijuana possession the leading infraction in New York City. "For individuals who have any kind of a record, even a minuscule one, the obstacles are enormous to employment and to education," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the NYTimes. "When it's really a huge number of kids in the community who go through this, and all have the same story, the impact is just devastating."
That list also includes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is calling for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view. He is expected to voice his support trowards the end of this month during a news conference at the end of the legislative session. "This proposal will bring long overdue consistency and fairness to New York State's Penal Law and save thousands of New Yorkers, particularly minority youth, from the unnecessary and life-altering trauma of a criminal arrest and, in some cases, prosecution," an administration official told the NYT.
We'll have to see if Mayor Bloomberg, who has already come out against the adoption of less draconian law enforcement, actually complies with the higher-ups but this is definitely a good sign of the changing times. Now we just need to get the rich old white guys that control the police on our side and we'll be all set. [New York Times via Boing Boing]