Anti-Medical Marijuana Politician Busted With Pot

By McCarton Ackerman 03/18/13

NY State Assemblyman Steve Katz preaches against pot, but practices possession.

Steve Katz sends mixed messages.
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Despite voting against the legalization of medical marijuana last year, New York state assemblyman Steve Katz has been charged with marijuana possession. The Republican was pulled over for speeding last Thursday and when a state trooper smelled marijuana in the car, Katz turned over a small bag of weed. Katz has since called the arrest "an unfortunate incident" that would soon blow over. "I will not let this incident impede my public service and my calls for real mandate relief, a better economic climate and better services for those in need in New York," he said on Friday. "This should not overshadow the work I have done over the years for the public and my constituency. I am confident that once the facts are presented that this will quickly be put to rest." Katz spoke out last year against a bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York, which ultimately did not pass. "As far as the medical marijuana element of this for intractable pain, or what have you, you have an answer for that already and truly you can get it if you truly need it," he said. In light of his recent arrest, his challenger in the Republican primary, Dario Gristina, has called on Katz to step down from office. "This is not the behavior you would expect from an elected official, especially from a conservative county like ours," said Gristina, "We have enough kids abusing drugs, and the last thing we need is for our elected representative being caught handing marijuana over to a police officer." This also isn't Katz's first run-in with the law; he was arrested for a DUI in 2000 and had two arrests decades ago that were related to his veterinary business.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.