Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner would deprioritize marijuana arrests if he becomes the next mayor of New York.
"I can tell my police officers and my police commissioner, that's not a priority for my administration," Weiner said during a press conference on Monday. The arrests "damage lives, and very rarely do you catch a master criminal that way," he added.
In the crime section of his position paper, Keys to the City, Weiner writes: "End arrests for small amounts of marijuana. These arrests serve no purpose; they worsen NYPD/community relations, create criminal records that ruin lives, and waste the time and energy of officers who should be fighting serious crime."
Weiner favors Gov. Cuomo's proposal to remove criminal penalties for "in public view" marijuana possession. New York State decriminalized marijuana in 1977, but left a loophole in the law that allows for misdemeanor arrests when marijuana is "in public view" (smoked, smelled, visible).
Despite several sexting scandals (the first forced him to leave Congress), Weiner has pressed on with his controversial mayoral campaign.
One of his competitors, Publc Advocate Bill de Blasio, shares Weiner's opinion about the city's marijuana enforcement. On his website, de Blasio states, "Low-level marijuana possession arrests have disastrous consequences for individuals and their families. These arrests limit one’s ability to qualify for student financial aid and undermine one’s ability to find stable housing and good jobs. What’s more, recent studies demonstrate clear racial bias in arrests for low-level possession, with African-Americans arrested four times more frequently as whites - despite roughly equal usage rates. This policy is unjust and wrong." He supports Cuomo's proposal as well.
Weiner faces off against de Blasio, City Council President Christine Quinn, City Comptoller John Liu, and former comptroller and 2009 mayoral nominee Bill Thompson in the primary on Sept. 10.