A proposal by Governor Cuomo to lessen the criminality of certain marijuana possession stops is drawing mixed reactions on the streets as some say it would be wise to give young people a break while others worry it might send the wrong message. NY1's Kristen Shaughnessy filed the following report.
The plan to eliminate most arrests for open possession of small amounts of marijuana could spare thousands of mostly black and Hispanic young people from winding up with records for what many consider a minor offense. Some people we spoke with agree that would be a good thing.
"I believe that is a good idea because it is not a large quantity and there is a problem with them stopping you, it has happened to me plenty of times," said one New Yorker.
"I agree with him because some people do make mistakes and when they try to fix things their criminal record shows and I don't think it is worth it because it is something small," said another New Yorker.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said low level drug enforcement helps prevent more serious crime like drug dealing and drug related violence but he's on board with this plan. But others we spoke with say no one should have marijuana on them, no matter how much.
"At the moment the substance is illegal so there is no reason for anyone to have it in their pocket even. Not to say - I'm for it eventually being legalized - but while it is not, a crime is a crime. An illegal substance is an illegal substance," noted one New Yorker.
"That means you're sending a signal to the teenagers that it is okay to have it on you as long as you don't show it. My case is as a teacher also. What is it showing to the children. It's okay as long as it is not showing. It is still illegal no matter which way you look at it," said another New Yorker.
The New York City Police Department made more than 50,000 arrests last year for low level marijuana possession.
Governor Cuomo's proposal is expected to bring that number way down.