11:16 am Jun. 8, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this morning that the governor's effort to decriminalize the public possession of small amounts of marijuana, which he publicly supports, is not an olive branch to stop-and-frisk critics, "but it will certainly end some of the objections."
At the same time, he said the NYPD has no intention of abandoning the stop-frisk tactic. Though a recent report indicates the more aggressive application of the tactic hasn't resulted in a commensurate drop in shootings, the mayor repeated his argument that stop-and-frisk has saved 5,600 lives.
"The truth of the matter is, it’s the most effective technique we think we have to get guns off the streets," he said during his weekly radio appearance on John Gambling's show, adding, "And another basketball program in the afternoon is just not the answer."
Earlier this week, police commissioner Ray Kelly joined Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany to unveil a new legislative effort to decriminalize the public possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The argument for the law, which does not yet have the backing of the Republicans who control the State Senate, is that during stop-and-frisks, police officers frequently ask people to empty their pockets. If those pockets contain marijuana, it officially passes from private to public view, and the penalty for possessing it increases from a violation (with a maximum $100 fine) to a misdemeanor (arrest, criminal record).
"I’m not suggesting I’m in favor of legalizing marijuana," the mayor said.
"The argument for decriminalizing marijuana is you would take the economics out of selling it, and so the bad guys wouldn’t make any money and they wouldn’t sell it," he said. "Except the bad guys have families to feed, so what are they gonna do? They will sell harder drugs, would be my theory."
He also said, "I'm not so sure marijuana today isn't a lot stronger than it used to be ... People say that. I don't know. Not my world these days."
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