(Page 5 of 5)
1.) In New York, following a police officer's instructions can lead to criminal charges
In New York, possession of small amounts of pot has been decriminalized, but it's still a crime to take the pot out of your pocket and wave it around like you just don't care. That distinction — between possession and display — seems pretty simple on its face. How hard could it be to keep your weed out of view? Not hard at all, unless an officer with the NYPD stops you as part of the city's stop-and-frisk policy, and asks you to empty out your trousers. In that case, the simple act of pulling out your weed for inspection qualifies as display. According to The New York Times, this Kafkaesque paradox results in "tens of thousands of young black and Latino men who are stopped by the New York City police for other reasons...being charged with a crime" after emptying their pockets.
While NYPD Chief Ray Kelly instructed his officers earlier this year to stop arresting people for doing what they're told, arrests for pot display haven't fallen all that much. In June, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued for extending marijuana decriminalization to include display (though not smoking). The proposal was endorsed by law enforcement leaders across New York City, civil and human rights groups, and drug policy reformers; but at 11th hour, Republicans in Albany declared they'd have no truck with further liberalizing New York's pot laws.