- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to lessen the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

Under current state law, most people caught with small amounts of marijuana for the first time receive a fine akin to a parking ticket. But officers can still arrest someone if the marijuana was in public view.

The Democratic governor’s proposal would change that by completely decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot. But criminal penalties would remain for dealers or for people who use marijuana in public or while driving.

Cuomo argues that most people arrested for minor possession are non-violent, otherwise law-abiding people who don’t deserve the potentially devastating effects of a criminal record.

The proposal is one of several from Cuomo this week as he laid out his 2017 agenda.

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