Protesters push GOP on marijuana law


Last year at this time, the halls of the state Capitol — particularly near the Senate Republicans’ conference room — were flooded with protesters pushing for same-sex marriage.

This year has been a bit quieter, to say the least. There haven’t been the hours-long, decibel-blasting rallies, at least not on a daily basis.

Today, however, may have been the exception.

A handful of downstate groups — including VOCAL-NY, the Center for NuLeadership, ColorOfChange, Long Island Progressive Coalition, and Bronx Community Clergy Coalition — organized a march through the Captiol earlier today. They stopped for a rally near the Million Dollar Staircase, just down the hall from Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ office.

The topic? A bill to decriminalize possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana, which is backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats.

“Dean Skelos, be a fellow, pass the bill,” the group chanted. Soon after, they were addressed by Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, a Bronx Democrat who served as the prime sponsor of the bill prior to 2011.

Specifically, the group took issue with the current law’s implications with New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy, which they said leads to “racist arrests” that target black and latino individuals. As it stands, it’s a misdemeanor charge to possess a small amount of pot in public view, but only a violation if it’s in private.

Here’s a taste of today’s march:


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  1. Dan Richeson on

    I have an important project that I am working on and I believe that if you looked at it we would be of “like” minds. If we are then I would appreciate your signature and some help promoting it. I have been getting signatures and kind remarks from all over the world. I hope that you will see fit to lend your considerable support to this project.
    Dan Richeson

    Mission Statement: To bring an end to cannabis prohibition in 2013 by gathering signatory members through promotion and declaring our rights through the document, “Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users”. Giving prohibitionists reasonable opportunity to affect appropriate, timely and agreed upon change and, if necessary enforcing our rights in a peaceful way. After April 20 2013 adopting a zero tolerance for acts of brutality and injustice by prohibitionists.

    The laws regarding cannabis were born on the wings of lies and pampered by propaganda such that now the tightly held belief systems are going to have to reckon with the desire of all humanity to live with dignity, free from the oppressive tyranny that ignorance and bigotry have spawned.