A group of 35 people in Erie County received an unexpected gift when John Flynn, the Erie County District Attorney, requested that a judge at the Buffalo City Court accept the prosecutor’s request to dismiss the low-level marijuana charges (misdemeanor charges) against the nearly three dozen people.
The judge agreed with the prosecutor, and the charges were dismissed. It should be noted that the 35 people weren’t present in court. Their warrants were still outstanding and they had missed their court appearances.
In effect, the prosecutor saw no need to continue hunting for those individuals over a substance that would soon be legal throughout the state.
The action taken by John Flynn means that going forward, the District Attorney will no longer be interested in prosecuting such low-level marijuana cases within the jurisdiction.
The Erie County District Attorney isn’t the first to take such action within the state. Flynn is following in the footsteps of the prosecutors in New York City.
The mayor of Buffalo city is also on record for ordering the police in the city to stop arresting people for low-level marijuana crimes, such as possession of small amounts of cannabis.
These actions by prosecutors and the elected leaders seem to acknowledge that while the legislative process to legalize cannabis hasn’t been concluded, the population has gone ahead and started consuming recreational cannabis to such a high degree that it would be hard to clamp down on all of those users.
There is also widespread agreement across the state regarding the need to legalize marijuana for adult-use. Only law enforcement agencies and some members of the medical field still have reservations about adult-use marijuana.
The other disagreements are largely about how the industry will be regulated and where the taxes collected from cannabis will be spent.
For example, sections of lawmakers want the taxes collected from the recreational cannabis sector to be earmarked for revamping the dilapidated infrastructure in the state, such as the aging subway system.
However, others want a large portion of the cannabis taxes to be spent in the impoverished communities that bore the brunt of the war against drugs. The legislators in this school of thought have even threatened to vote against legalization if the law doesn’t stipulate what fraction of the marijuana taxes will go to the underprivileged communities in the inner cities.
What should be applauded in the meantime is the proactive step taken by the prosecutors to stop going after people who commit low-level marijuana infractions as the politicians are hashing out a law to legalize adult-use cannabis. Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF) and Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQB: PLPRF) are hoping that the lawmakers put the interests of New Yorkers first so that the best law is made for that jurisdiction.
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