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Anti-pot lawmaker arrested on pot charge

March 15, 2013 at 4:57 PM

ALBANY, N.Y., March 15 (UPI) -- A Republican New York state lawmaker who opposed legalizing medical marijuana was charged with pot possession after he was stopped for speeding, police say.

Assemblyman Steve Katz, 59, of the Hudson Valley's Mohegan Lake, north of New York City, was stopped at 10 a.m. Thursday for allegedly driving 80 mph on the New York State Thruway south of Albany where the speed limit was 65 mph, state police said.

"After noting the odor of marijuana, a New York state trooper found Katz in possession of a small bag of marijuana," state police said in a statement.

Katz was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana as well as speeding and is scheduled to appear in town of Coeymans Court March 28.

Katz said in a statement he was "confident that once the facts are presented ... this will quickly be put to rest."

Katz, an outspoken conservative with strong Tea Party backing, was first elected to the Legislature's lower house in 2010. He sits on the Assembly's alcoholism and drug abuse committee, as well as its committees on higher education, mental health and economic development.

He voted "no" last June on an Assembly bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York. The bill passed 91-52 but has not come to a vote in the state Senate.

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