Governor Cuomo to propose cutting marijuana penalty

By Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to lower the penalty for public possession of a small amount of marijuana, reducing it from a misdemeanor to a violation.

Possession of less than 25 grams was reduced to a violation in 1977, subject to a ticket and fine. If the pot is burning or in public view, it rises to a misdemeanor that leads to arrest.

Bloomberg says Monday that Cuomo's proposal mirrors a directive issued to NYPD officers. He says that strikes the right balance and allows police to combat the routine sale and use of marijuana on the streets.

New York City police arrest more than 50,000 people annually on the misdemeanor.

Critics say that's driven by a stop-and-frisk program that targets minorities.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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