High crimes & misdemeanors If only every pot user got the kid glove treatment afforded Assemblyman Steve Katz

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

New York Assemblyman Steve Katz was arrested for marijuana possession last month.

LESLIE BARBARO/NEWSDAY WESTCHESTER

New York Assemblyman Steve Katz was busted for marijuana possession last month.

The fight for saner marijuana laws has a new poster boy in Albany: Westchester Assemblyman Steve Katz.

As you may have read — or seen mocked on “The Daily Show” — Katz is the conservative Republican state lawmaker who managed to get himself busted for marijuana possession last month.

According to the official account of the state police, a trooper clocked the pol doing 80 m.p.h. up the Thruway, pulled him over, smelled pot and “found Katz in possession of a small bag of marijuana.”

Keep in mind, this happened around 10 a.m. on a weekday. Katz was en route to Albany for a day of committee meetings and floor votes — a situation that gave rise to endless “wake, bake and legislate” jokes around the Capitol.

Politically, it was a major embarrassment, especially since Katz has voted against letting sick people use marijuana for pain relief — even with a doctor’s permission.

Legally, though, the bust turned out to be no big deal. The trooper chose not to run a sobriety test or charge Katz with driving under the influence. Instead, he wrote him up for speeding and unlawful possession of marijuana — a violation that’s equivalent to a traffic ticket — and sent him on his way to write the laws of New York State.

In court last week, the speeding ticket was reduced to a parking violation and the marijuana charge was “adjourned in contemplation of dismissal,” or “ACD” — meaning it goes away completely if he keeps his nose clean for six months.

So long as he pays a $75 fine and does 20 hours of community service, Katz gets to walk away free and clear — with no permanent criminal record.

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http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/high-crimes-misdemeanors-article-1.1330613