Manhattan Ends Prosecutions for Marijuana Possession


A recent report from the Times showed that minorities in New York City were more likely to be arrested on low-level marijuana charges. "The number of arrests in that precinct, the 76th Precinct, were 246 arrests". Some prosecutors' offices also announced changes, including the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which won't prosecute marijuana possession and smoking cases as of August.

Three months ago, Brooklyn began a pilot program declining to prosecute some instances of smoking marijuana in public.

"The dual mission of the Manhattan D.A.'s Office is a safer NY and a more equal justice system", said Vance.

New York City's police commissioner, James O'Neill, had hinted Monday that he was concerned about the number of people arrested on marijuana charges who had no previous criminal record, the Times reported. Research has found no good evidence that marijuana arrests are associated with reductions in serious crime in New York City.

Discussions were ongoing to consider "limited exceptions" to the policy. "We need an honest assessment about why they exist". In 2017, he issued one of the most lenient marijuana policies in New York State, under which individuals accused for the first time of smoking in public receive a 90-day Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal ("ACD"), and those accused for the second time receive a 180-day ACD.

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"Such arrests can significantly impact job searches, schooling, family members, immigration status, and community involvement", the DA said. As a result, large numbers of New Yorkers become further alienated from law enforcement and removed from community participation at an enormous cost to the criminal justice system, for virtually no punitive, rehabilitative or deterrent objective. Brooklyn already has a similar policy.

The NYPD's current marijuana enforcement policy is going up in smoke.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Tuesday that the New York Police Department plans to "overhaul" its policies on marijuana enforcement in the coming weeks as part of an effort to limit arrests. "We will await the results of that review", a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. Some states, like NY, have decriminalized marijuana, making it a violation and not a crime to possess small amounts of cannabis.

Last week, Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger were joined by organizations and groups dedicated to criminal justice reform, civil rights, and public health as they stood in support of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), a bill that would legalize the production, distribution, and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

DPA is now leading a campaign, Start Smart New York, to pass marijuana legalization in New York, with a focus on racial, social and economic justice.