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Reaction to Governor Cuomo's plan to decriminalize marijuana

One of the proposals in Governor Cuomo's legislative agenda for 2017 is the decriminalization of marijuana.

In his State of the State book presented to lawmakers, the governor says he'll propose a bill to amend current laws and remove what he says are the criminal penalties that too often result in the over-prosecution and jailing of non-violent individuals.

Cuomo adds those who illegally supply and sell marijuana will be be prosecuted.

Brockport Police Chief Dan Varrenti says the proposal is vague because possession of some amounts of marijuana has already been decriminalized.

"Possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana, as long as it's not being smoked in public, is already a violation so it's not a crime, so how's he decriminalizing that, I don't know," he said.

Varrenti says he can't support a proposal that would increase the amount of marijuana that someone can have, without it being a crime.

Jennifer Faringer, director of DePaul's National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, for the Rochester area, notes marijuana has a different set of legal codes, so it's somewhat already somewhat decriminalized.

But today's marijuana also contains much higher amounts of psychoactive ingredient THC, than the marijuana of several years ago.

"Is it a definite that everyone that starts with alcohol and marijuana will become addicted to something else? No, of course not, but there certainly is a linkage," she said.

Faringer says DePaul would rather see people get the help they need instead of being punished.