New York

Seneca Indian Nation approves medical marijuana initiative

Posted on November 6th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New YorkMembers of the Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York state voted up a referendum Nov. 3 giving tribal leaders approval to move towards setting up a medical marijuana business on their territories. The measure passed by a vote of 448-364, giving the Seneca Nation Council the power to draft laws and regulations allowing the manufacture, use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes. "A decision on our Nation's path of action on medical cannabis is far from made," cautioned Seneca President Maurice A. John Sr. in comments to the Buffalo News. "But now, having heard from the Seneca people, our discussions and due diligence can begin in earnest."

New York State push for cannabis justice

Posted on April 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

New YorkBack in March, Connecticut's Supreme Court, the state's highest, ruled that those convicted of past cannabis possession misdemeanors can have the charges erased from their records because the state decriminalized the herb in 2011. The  unanimous ruling came in the case of Nicholas Menditto, who will now have his 2009 possession conviction expunged from his record. (The Joint Blog, March 17; AP, March 16) Last week, reporter Jon Campbell wrote in New York's Village Voice that activists in the Empire State are hoping for a similar outcome. New York was one of the first states to decriminalize, way back in '77, and the cut-off point for an infraction rather than a misdemeanor is a full ounce (as opposed to a half-ounce under the Connecticut law). But New York pot arrests have ironically continued at the highest rate in the country—especially in the Big Apple, under the aggressive policing since the '90s. The loophole that cops used? Cannabis in public view remains illegal—and suspects are basically forced into pulling out their stashes when stopped by cops and ordered to empty their pockets.

Crown Heights peanut butter connection

Posted on April 2nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityWhen Brooklyn neighborhood website reported on April 1 that a kosher grocery store in the Jewish enclave had received in the mail 10 bags of cannabis hidden in vacuum-sealed plastic containers of peanut butter—well, we thought it was an April Fool joke. But the website's source was the previous day's New York Post, and it looks pretty legit. The grocery, Kahan's Superette on Kingston Ave., apparently reported the find to the police. "Wrong delivery address results in the seizure of 10 large bags of marijuana wrapped in peanut butter," the 71st Precinct tweeted, along with a photo of the gooey mess. "I have no idea where it came from. It was just dropped off," a worker at the store told the Post. The store sells such fare as kosher chicken, bagels, cream cheese and fresh salmon, according to its Facebook page. Nobody seems to have asked if Kahan’s had ordered a shipment of peanut butter—maybe to make peanut butter macaroons for the upcoming Passover holiday.

New York City Council calls for cannabis legalization

Posted on March 26th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityThis week, the New York City Council called for the state of New York to pass legislation to tax and regulate cannabis, as well as to close loopholes in the state's decriminalization law that allow arrests for small quantitites to continue. As part of its State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the 2015-2016 legislative session, the Council urged the state legislature to pass both the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) and the Fairness and Equity Act. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced her support for cannabis legalization in November, but this marks the first time that the issue has been part of the Council's official legislative agenda.

Civil libertarians skeptical on NYC cannabis policy

Posted on November 11th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

New York CityNew York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton whimsically held up a baggie filled with oregano to show what 25 grams (about an ounce) of herb looks like in announcing the new policy to stop making arrests for those found in possession of that much cannabis in public view. The policy is expected to curb the tens of thousands of arrests for low-level possession the NYPD makes each year—busts that disproportionately affect Black and Latino residents despite the fact that whites use the herb no less. Despite New York State's 1976 decriminalization law, the Big Apple has remained the marijuana arrest capital of the world—and arrests have actually increased since the supposedly progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio took office this year. Pot in public view is what is critical—allowing police to make arrests for what would otherwise be just a ticketable offense. But even under the new policy, possession in public view can still get you a summons and a $100 fine, and those smoking in public will still be subject to arrest.

NYC: pistol-whipped for cannabis possession

Posted on October 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York CityTwo New York City cops have been disciplined after a disturbing video surfaced showing a 16-year-old boy pistol-whipped and beaten after being stopped on suspicion of pot possession. A Brooklyn grand jury is to begin hearing evidence in the case to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the cops, according to the Daily News of Oct. 7. The video, taken around 2:20 AM on Aug. 29, shows Kahreem Tribble running from police, slowing down and apparently attempting to surrender on St. John's Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He'd already come to a complete stop on the sidewalk when one of the cops, identified as Tyrane Isaac, threw a punch to Tribble's head. The teen put up his hands—only to have a second cop, David Afanador, slug him across the face with his sidearm. A third officer, identified as Christopher Mastoros, can be seen taking no action to help Tribble as he is brutalized. Tribble suffered several broken teeth, swelling and mouth injuries. He was arrested for marijuana possession. Police said Tribble tossed a small canvas bag as they gave chase; the recovered bag contained 17 zip-lock baggies of cannabis. "These police officers behaved themselves in a truly deplorable manner," said  Tribble's lawyer, Amy Rameau. "This type of conduct should not be tolerated and I want to see them prosecuted for what they did to my client."

New York City: dissent grows on cannabis enforcement —but Bratton intransigent

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityIn another sign of the new progressive tilt in New York City politics, the New York Post reports July 8 that Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has announced that he will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases. Thompson's press release said his new policy is to "prevent offenders—who are disproportionately young men of color—from being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, non-violent offense." But Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said his cops will keep arresting Brooklyn's cannabis tokers anyway. "In order to be effective, our police officers must enforce the laws of the State of New York uniformly throughout all five boroughs of the City," Bratton said in his own statement. "Accordingly, the Kings County policy change will not result in any changes in the policies and procedures of the NYPD."

New York passes restrictive medical marijuana law

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New YorkGov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law July 7 that makes New York the 23rd medical marijuana state. Advocates celebrated a deal struck last month between Cuomo and the state legislature that will protect qualified patients from arrest, prosecution and discrimination, and license up to 20 distribution facilities across the state. The new law empowers the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to license physicians to recommend marijuana to patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and a limited range of other medical conditions. However, the law only allows for products that use an extracted form of cannabis, such as oil or edibles, which are to be produced under a state-licensed manufacturing process. Advocates have voiced concerns over the law's 7% tax, and a prohibition on access to whole-plant cannabis. Advocates also raise concerns over the prohibitive cost for many patients who cannot afford to purchase what would otherwise be an inexpensive medicine to grow. The new law gives the DOH 18 months to establish regulations and will sunset in seven years. (ASA, July 7)

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