New York became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana in 2014, though the law’s rules are still considered some of the most stringent in the nation. Still, it was a step forward for cannabis in The Big Apple and now full legalization is in sight.
Starting September 1, New Yorkers will not have to fear incarceration for smoking, recreationally or medicinally, on the streets. Instead, they’ll be given a ticket that will likely cost about $100 in court. This is a massive move forward, especially considering the disparities in arrest rates between white and black and brown persons when it comes to cannabis.
So besides simply making it a nuisance to get caught with your pot out, New York State is considering the pros and cons of going full legal in a budget set forth by Gov. Cuomo. Not to mention that Cynthia Nixon is running against Cuomo in the upcoming primary and is a vocal supporter of full legalization.
Now there’s a few things to remember with the newfound leniency in New York. For one thing, though we know it’s coming, being able to smoke publically without fear of arrest doesn’t actually commence until September and even then it has its provisions. If the person stopped for public consumption has a warrant or is on probation, is caught while driving or is stopped without identification, they will likely take a ride to lockup.
It will be every breath of fresh air available the day that the U.S. legalizes weed across the board and is normalized to the point of having no more stigma. It would be like popping a large pimple in the prison system, and as gross an image that may be, people will be flooding out of jails and prisons if the law is made retroactive and the flow of nonviolent “offenders” would practically cease.
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With all the hustle and bustle, not only in New York City, but across the United States, a little weed, ingested responsibly, is a big cure. Not only to what ails you, but to the simple doldrums, a racing mind, a bad mood or whatever little thing is nagging at a person. Plus, it is an enhancement drug, and if you’re having a terrific day it gets all the better.
As the primary unfolds and minds change about a complex plant that’s been prohibited far too long, New York is the state catching up to the forward thinking fashion this time. It’s better late to the table than never, but one can only hope that more and more New York politicians see the light of change and make it shine.