FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Smoking Pot in the Capitol

by ANTHONY PAPA

Earlier this week, political activist and comedian Randy Credico engaged in a novel protest and civil disobedience inside of the New York State Capitol building: he smoked a joint. Credico’s protest was aimed directly at the Senate Republicans, who killed a smart proposal to expand the state’s current marijuana decriminalization law. The sensible proposal to reduce the ghastly number of costly, biased and unlawful arrests for marijuana possession was introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and enjoyed the overwhelming support of both drug policy advocates and law enforcement officials from across the state. After learning of the Senate Republicans plan to kill the bill, Credico took action: he went to the Capitol, lit up, and smoked a joint in the door way of the Albany Times Union, located in the press area.

I talked to the flamboyant Credico who said, “I did this to protest the inhumane action of the NYS Senate who refused to pass legislation which the Governor and Assembly proposed.” Credico, who is mulling a run for mayor of New York City is vehemently opposed to current stop and frisk policies conducted in NYC, which resulted in the arrest of over 50,000 individuals last year.

Before lighting up, Credico appeared as a featured guest on the radio show of New York Post Albany Bureau Chief Fred Dicker. Dicker’s studio is located in the Capitol Building, and his show is the most influential in NYS politics. Live on the radio, Credico the audience of his intentions and showed Dicker the marijuana joint. Soon after the show Credico approached a half dozen Republican Senators in the Senate lobby and he asked them “Do I look like a criminal? The Senators shook their heads no. But moments later they were shocked when Credico suddenly reached into his pocket and pulled out a marijuana cigarette and said, “Now I am a criminal because you can see it.” Credico was referring to the current NYS marijuana laws which Gov. Cuomo recently said that his marijuana plan would correct a “blatant inconsistency” in the law that treats the private possession of small amounts of pot — 25 grams or less — as a violation, while the public display of weed carries misdemeanor charges.

About twenty minutes later Credico lit up his joint in an area near the Assembly and the Senate floor on the 3rd floor above the governor’s office, directly across from NYS Attorney General Eric Snyderman’s office. Individuals were astonished when they smelled his ass kicking weed. He then walked towards the doorway of the Albany
Times Union office and blew a few rings of smoke into the office. This was captured on film by Times Union reporter Jimmy Vielkind. Credico exclaimed “This is a crime in NYS!” A voice came from within the office saying, “Oh my GOD, that’s weed!” Credico responded, “This is a crime here; they should make this not a crime.”

Tellingly, Credico was not arrested for his civil disobedience – which is part of Credico’s point. Government studies consistently show that white people – like Credico – are shown to use marijuana at equal or higher rates than Blacks or Latinos, and yet the overwhelming majority of people arrested for marijuana possession in New York are Black and Latino. In New York City, over 50,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession last year alone, making it the number one arrest in the City. Nearly 85% of those arrested are Black or Latino. About half of those arrested – over 25,000 people – are young people between 16 – 21 years old.

As Credico explained to me after his protest, – “Here we have a situation where white guys like me can smoke weed in the heart of the State Capitol and not get arrested, but young Black and Latino kids walking down the street are being racially profiled, unlawfully searched, and illegally arrested for just mere possession of a little bit of pot. How many of those senators have kids who are smoking weed in college or after school? Do they think those kid should be arrested too?”

According to the NY Daily News Gov. Cuomo has stated that the Republicans have sunk to a ‘new low’ over the fight to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in NYS, and that the GOP has buckled under pressure from the ultra-conservative wing of the party in an effort to block the bill. He also warned that opposition to marijuana reform will cost them in November.

ANTHONY PAPA is the author of 15 Years to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom and manager of media relation for the Drug Policy Alliance. He can be reached at: anthonypapa123@yahoo.com 

Anthony Papa is the Manager of Media and Artist Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance and the author of This Side of Freedom: Life After Lockdown.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail