Legislation introduced in Albany would reduce penalty for pot possession

Prosecutors say the proposed bill is an important step to reforming the system. (7/9/14)

NEW YORK - Some lawmakers in Albany want reduced penalties for marijuana possession, because they say the current policy targets young people of color.

The move comes after Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that first-time, low-level offenders for marijuana possession will no longer be prosecuted in most cases.

Lawmakers introduced legislation in Albany to reduce the penalty for possession of a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a summons.

READ MORE: Brooklyn Crime Stories

State Assemblyman Karim Camara (D) says that young white people in the same age bracket smoke more marijuana than blacks and Latinos, but 86 percent of arrests are black and Latino. "We've got to make the laws right," he says.

Prosecutors say the proposed bill is an important step to reforming the system.

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