Ithaca Mayor Asks Albany to Legalize Marijuana

By Matt Porter

December 6, 2012 Updated Dec 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) If leaders in Albany didn't know Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick already, they know him now, following a call for the state to legalize marijuana.

"I really thought this was a time, this was a great time to let them know,” said Mayor Svante Myrick (D-Ithaca), "From my perspective, from the city's perspective, marijuana is not something we should be concerned about from an enforcement angle."

Myrick said his city is engaged in cracking down on drugs, but he says going after pot isn't the answer.

"We've got young kids, kids who are 17, 18, 19-years-old getting arrested for marijuana," he said, "Disproportionately people of color, who are having their records stained by this for the rest of their lives."

Myrick also said creating regulations could undercut dealers.

"You can create jobs, jobs for regular folks," he said, “And undermine the drug trade, the dangerous drug trade."

Although politicians in Albany may not be thrilled with the idea of legalizing marijuana, people in the city of Ithaca said it's about time.

"I feel he's absolutely right on," said Ithaca resident Philly DeSarno, "I absolutely agree with our mayor."

"I think to cut down on the trafficking of marijuana," said Kenneth Benton, another Ithaca resident, "I think it would be a good thing."

And for 17-year-old Indigo Hollahan, she also supports the mayor's intention of helping minors avoid criminal prosecution.

"Well I think when you're young, you make a lot of decisions, not always the best ones," Hollahan said, "But you shouldn't be penalized for it, not at such a young age."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) was asked by reporters in Albany to respond to Myrick's proposal. He said his administration would review the issue, but his position hasn't changed.

For now, marijuana remains illegal in New York, despite one mayor's call otherwise.