In a recent blog post, William Martin, Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy, discusses New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view. Martin presents evidence supporting the governor's argument that current policies disproportionately target blacks and Latinos, while costing the state millions of dollars annually and leaving communities vulnerable to other crimes.
"While police officers haul offenders off to book them, often drawing overtime pay in the process, they leave their beats unprotected from more serious crime and place unnecessary burdens on courts, jails and other parts of the criminal justice apparatus," he writes.
In addition to the facts, Martin also notes that Cuomo also has political backing: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and the city"s five district attorneys have all announced their support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo"s proposal.
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