New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer calls it a “startling turnaround” that both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly back New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to drop a law making publicly possessing small quantities of pot a misdemeanor. “This is primarily a young-person problem, about 60 percent,” Cuomo said. “And primarily, overwhelmingly, a problem for the black and brown community, 94 percent of the convictions.”
About 400,000 people have been arrested over the last 10 years for breaking that law. The misdemeanor charges, Cuomo said, were an “aggravated complication” of searches conducted in New York City. Last year, about 700,000 people were stopped, questioned, and in many cases, searched; most of those people were black and Latino.