It’s that time of year. No, we’re not referring to the blooming trees of spring, but New Yorkers are excited about another type of greenery. Marijuana, pot, weed, grass — Friday marks 420, which is celebrated each year on April 20 in honor of this popular plant and the cannabis culture that surrounds it. Here are a few things to know about marijuana in the New York City area.
The lowdown on getting high in NYC
1. New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon favors legalizing marijuana. The former “Sex and the City” star reportedly told supporters at a private fundraising event last week that if elected, she would “legalize marijuana and put a tax on it.”
2. New Jersey is expanding its medical marijuana program by adding five new categories of medical conditions, reducing patient and caregiver fees and making it easier for patients to get the proper amount of product. “We are changing the restrictive culture of our medical marijuana program to make it more patient-friendly,” Gov. Phil Murphy said on March 27.
3. A racial disparity still persists in New York City marijuana arrests, according to police data showing that the NYPD arrested 16,925 people last year for low-level marijuana-related offenses. That comes despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s outspoken criticism of such arrests.
4. Possession of cannabis is decriminalized in New York City, but not legalized. People caught with up to 25 grams of cannabis could get hit with a $100 fine for their first offense. A second offense is $200, a third offense is $250 and a possible 15-day jail sentence. Smoking pot in public is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a $250 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
5. A recent poll found that the majority of New York voters support making recreational use of weed legal. In February, Siena College released a poll that showed 56 percent of voters surveyed were in favor of legalization. Two-thirds of Democrats and 57 percent of Independents are supportive, according to the data, while 57 percent of Republicans were against it. Sixty percent of New York City-specific voters backed legalizing pot.