Republican Grisanti backs Cuomo marijuana proposal

Jun 5, 2012

State Senator Mark Grisanti says the state could save tens of millions of dollars under Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposals to change the law on first-offense simple possession of marijuana.

He says the governor's plan doesn't decriminalize marijuana nor does it change the rules on drug weight for more serious charges.

The Buffalo Republican says in his experience, when whites are arrested on small amount charges, they are charged with violations, while African-Americans and others are charged with misdemeanors.

He says the charges are mostly reduced anyway while thousands of dollars are spent on the legal process.

"You're talking about roughly $95 million to the state that, in my opinion, is better spent on hard-pressed municipalities  or law enforcement needs,  and they clog the courts," Grisanti said.

Grisanti says he isn't sure the governor's legislation can pass before the Legislature shuts down. but he plans to push the bill.