BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – In his annual State of the City address Friday afternoon at the Buffalo Convention Center, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown caught the attention and applause of 1,900 guests in attendance with one sentence.
“Today, I am directing the Buffalo Police Commissioner to stop enforcing low level marijuana offenses,” said Mayor Brown. “Low level marijuana offenses for too long have derailed people’s’ lives.”
It comes at a time when New York State is preparing to legalize marijuana, and in reality, Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo says it is rare for low level marijuana possession to be the only charge against someone. “Where solely the possession of marijuana was the charge, was 200 arrests out of tens of thousands of arrests each year and of the majority of those arrests were based on 3-1-1 complaints,” said Captain Rinaldo.
Mayor Brown also announced that M&T Bank plans to bring a thousand tech jobs into the Buffalo. “The great news from M&T is those 1,000 jobs could’ve gone anywhere in the region and they have allowed us to break the news today that those 1,000 jobs will be physically located in the City of Buffalo somewhere,” said Mayor Brown, who would not elaborate on more details.
It was also revealed who is buying the former Buffalo Police Headquarters on Franklin and Church Streets. Douglas Jemal, owner of Douglas Development, will pay $3 million dollars for it and make apartments out of it. He is already the owner of One Seneca Tower and plans to loan the city $10 million dollars to speed up the process of getting cars back onto Main Street under his one seneca Tower. “I’m ready to go. Why should it take a couple years? We could open it today. All we have to do is open it and it’ll open,” said Jemal, who notes there will have to be meetings with engineers and the New York State Department of Transportation first.