Lopez Votes To Protect Against Increased Drug Offenses
March 5, 2009
Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R, C, I – Schoharie) joined with many of his colleagues in the State Assembly in voting against the legislation intended to amend the Rockefeller Drug Laws. “As a parent, it is disturbing to think that we may be moving in a direction that makes it harder to convict criminals of the possession and sale of drugs. With so many important issues facing our state – economic development, balancing our budget, promoting energy independence, and providing property tax relief to over burdened families – it is very frustrating that Albany leaders cannot stay on task with these more pressing issues,” stated Assemblyman Lopez. In addition to creating drug treatment programs for incarcerated individuals, the bill also creates new eligibility standards for prisoners’ early release, allows sealing of drug convictions for non-juvenile offenders and authorizes lower sentences for drug crimes. Additionally, the bill increases the threshold required for conviction of felony possession and sale offenses. In fact, the legislation would double the amount of drugs criminals would be allowed to carry in many instances. For example, for the class A-I felony conviction of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the second degree, the defendant would have attempted to sell 4 ounces of narcotics. The current weight threshold is 2 ounces. A rough street market value of 2 ounces of cocaine is over $50,000 and could be cut into over 4,000 individual doses.