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Cuomo Proposes State Decriminalize Pot Possession; Allow Farmers To Grow Hemp

WAMC composite photo by Dave Lucas

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to lessen the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana, and says he wants to promote industrial hemp production in New York.

The Democratic governor's proposal would completely decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot. Cuomo argues that most people arrested on minor possession charges are non-violent, otherwise law-abiding people who don't deserve the potentially devastating effects of a police record.

Criminal penalties would remain for dealers or for people who use marijuana in public or while driving.

Another proposal in line with Cuomo’s 2017 agenda seeks expansion of a pilot program that allows farmers to grow hemp in conjunction with state agricultural officials. Industrial hemp, which can be used in the production of clothes, building materials, fuel and paper, contains less than 1 percent THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.

Cuomo would hold an Industrial Hemp Summit in the Southern Tier to bring together researchers, farmers, manufacturers and government officials.

© 2017 AP

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Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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