The two people that I probably looked up to the most growing up were both from Buffalo, New York. The late great Tim Russert, who was the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, was from Buffalo. I spent many Sundays watching Tim lock horns with elected officials on his show, and always admired him. Also, my childhood hero and now fellow freedom fighter friend Cliff Robinson, who played 18 years in the NBA (including in Portland, go Blazers!) is also from Buffalo.
Cliff has told me a personal story about when him and his best friend were arrested for marijuana in Buffalo. The arrest nearly derailed his basketball career before it even began. Cliff was about to go play for the University of Connecticut on a D-1 scholarship when he was arrested for a nickel bag along with his best friend (lots of love for Big Bear!). Fortunately things worked out for Cliff and Bear regardless, but for many others in Buffalo that’s not the case. They are arrested for marijuana in Buffalo, and it sends their life into a downward spiral that is very hard to get out of.
It’s like activists always say – cannabis is not harmful, getting caught with cannabis is harmful. Some very hardworking activists with the Western New York NORML chapter have submitted the ‘Buffalo Cannabis Act’ which seeks to end arrests in Buffalo for possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana. Per WKBW:
Western New York NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) introduced a draft resolution to city lawmakers Tuesday that calls for police to stop arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
The resolution was presented to the Common Council’s legislation committee in a public meeting. Members of WNY NORML and community members spoke in support of the resolution, which was received and filed. David Franczyk, chair of the legislation committee, said a council member needs to pick up this resolution and present it formally in order for it to move forward.
It’s vital to this effort that a council member pick up this legislation and push it forward. Yes, New York law would trump Buffalo city law, but no more so than it does in other states that have seen municipalities take a more sensible approach to marijuana, and those cities are doing OK. The sky is still intact, and tremendous amounts of money are being saved. A great example of that is in Philadelphia were marijuana decriminalization has already saved the city seven figures worth of tax payer dollars that can now go towards things like schools and fighting real crime. If you live in Buffalo, now is the time to contact your council members. You can find out who they are, and how to contact them, at this link here.
image via PublicBroadcasting.net