NEW LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN NY STATE
June 24, 2011
Thank you for contacting my office regarding drug law reform in New York State.
Currently, legislation has been introduced in the Assembly (A.7620) which would standardize penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana, and make unlawful possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation punishable by a fine. Under current law, possession of a small amount of marijuana is a violation, while possession of a small amount of marijuana in public view is a misdemeanor. However, studies have shown that many individuals arrested for marijuana possession in public view actually held the marijuana in their pocket or bag, and were therefore improperly charged. These improper charges were often the result of a stop-and-frisk encounter, and statistics show that these encounters disproportionately involve African-Americans and Latinos. By standardizing the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana, this bill would alleviate the strain of these unfair arrests. This bill is currently in the Assembly Committee on Rules, of which I am not a member. However, if this bill comes before the full Assembly for a vote, it will receive my support.
Throughout my tenure in the Assembly, I have remained committed to promoting sensible drug laws in New York State. I have sponsored legislation (A.7347) which would allow patients to use marijuana to treat a serious illness under medical supervision. Further, I have sponsored legislation (A.6085) which would grant judges discretion to tailor the penalties of the penal law to the circumstances of each drug offense in order to avoid harsh sentences when they are not appropriate. Additionally, this bill would authorize courts to sentence certain non-violent drug offenders to probation and drug treatment rather than mandatory prison sentences. I will continue to advance legislation which ensures that non-violent drug offenders are treated fairly under the law.
Knowing how my constituents feel on the issues of the day is of the utmost importance to me. I encourage you to continue taking an active role in government and thank you for informing me of your opinions on this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any matter that concerns you.
Jonathan L. Bing
Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing
360 East 57th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 605-9948 (fax)