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Governor Moves to Decriminalize Pot, Plugs Casino at Belmont

Proposal could impact New York City's "Stop and Frisk" policy.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana in an attempt to address complaints related to the city's controversial "stop and frisk" law.

Decriminalizing possession of a joint would prevent thousands of arrests annually. Many community leaders in New York claim the police tactic is a recipe for targeting the minority community.

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are both in favor of Cuomo's plan.

But the governor is also touting expanding casino-style gambling, possibly to Belmont Park, saying it could increase tax revenues and create jobs.

So it appears, on the surface, all vices are not created equally in New York.

If you simply stop prosecuting a non-crime, the suspect is now merely a citizen.

But if you can tax that individual for his habits and vice, it's an opportunity for revenues and job growth.

What are we missing here? Do Patch readers find this duality a form of blatant hypocrisy?

Does anyone who has ever smoked pot found it to be as bad or as dangerous for you as the state would have us believe? Is pot smoking more physically damaging or more destructive to families than, say, heavy drinking or compulsive gambling? Virtually any normal, human activity can be turned into a vice when overdone-- from shopping to eating.

Take our poll and sound off in the comments.

Jose LaSalle June 06, 2012 at 02:38 PM
As one of the Stop Stop & Frisk organizer I am feeling the joy of my work. For now there would be less youth being criminalize and send through the system for an amount of marijuana that is only punishable by a summon. Now lets see if these officers carryout or follow the law!
Joe Dowd June 07, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Thanks, Jose, for the comment.
Carol Dolson June 07, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I am and always have been in favor of legalizing pot. It's really no big deal. However, regarding gambling casinos, I'm not at all in favor of them and feel it would cause another downfall in our community, simply because people would be gambling away the mortgage payment, resulting in even more foreclosures and more homeless families. I don't feel the good of jobs created, taxes, etc. would out weight the bad.

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