Bloomberg aims to lessen penalty for low-level pot busts

Smoking

Smoking (Credit: Getty Images)

The penalty for getting busted with a little bit of pot is about to get lighter.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during his State of the City address Thursday that starting next month, an arrest for a small amount of marijuana will be a violation rather than a misdemeanor, and anyone with a valid ID and no warrants will not have to stay in jail overnight. Offenders will receive a ticket and a court date.

"There's more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record," he said.

"Commissioner [Ray] Kelly and I support Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo's proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation ... but we won't wait for that to happen," he said, adding the change will let police put "resources where they're needed most."

Cuomo last month proposed decriminalizing the possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana.

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