Bloomberg Rushes to Agree with Cuomo on Pot Decriminalization

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Seeing as how he's repeatedly defended the stop-and-frisk program and low-level pot arrests, we didn't expect New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to come out in favor of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to partially decriminalize pot. But that's exactly what he did, before the governor even got a chance to announce his plan publicly. The Republican mayor issued a statement on Monday saying Cuomo's plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in public view jibed with his own department's order "directing officers to issue violations, rather than misdemeanors, for small amounts of marijuana that come into open view during a search." That directive, issued in September, did not bring down the number of pot arrests for 2011 -- a record year that saw "more arrests than in the entire 19-year period 1978 to 1996 combined," The New York Times reported. Cuomo's plan is actually designed to try to curb the number of low-level marijuana arrests that disproportionately target black and Hispanic youth. But part of the reason Bloomberg supports Cuomo's proposal is that it still allows arrests "for selling or smoking marijuana." The thing the plan decriminalizes is the practice of asking a suspect to empty his pockets, then arresting him under state laws that make it illegal to have your pot in public view. And that's just unfair.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.