A New York State assemblyman who has opposed medical marijuana legislation was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after he was pulled over for speeding this week.
In a statement released Friday, authorities reported that state police discovered Steve Katz had a “small bag” of marijuana in his possession during a traffic stop on the New York State Thruway around 10 a.m. Thursday.
A New York State Trooper noticed the smell of marijuana after stopping the 59-year-old assemblyman for driving 80 miles per hour in 65 mph zone. Katz was taken into custody and charged with possession before being released.
The arrest is particularly curious since Katz, who represents parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, voted against the legalization of medical marijuana in June. As the New York Times notes, the Republican assemblyman also serves on New York’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.
Katz addressed the “unfortunate incident” during a press conference Friday.
“This should not overshadow the work I have done over the years for the public and my constituency,” Katz told reporters. “I am confident that once the facts are presented that this will quickly be put to rest.”
The assemblyman was first elected to represent New York’s District 94 in 2010, and was reelected in 2012 for another two-year term. He is expected to appear in court for the possession charge on Mar. 28.