New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised this week to instruct the New York Police Department to no longer arrest people that smoke pot in public. The NYC mayor expects the new policy to slash the number of annual arrests by 10,000 in 2019.
The policy change has been in the making for weeks. On Tuesday, the mayor and police commissioner James O’Neill unveiled the decision.
Nevertheless, the move doesn’t mean that smoking pot in public is no longer an offense. Instead, the police will replace arrests with criminal summonses. People caught possessing small amounts of cannabis are facing this punishment.
We know there is a bigger discussion happening across the nation and at the state level on legalization of marijuana,
the NYC mayor tweeted on June 19.
He vowed to make New York a “safer and fairer” place to live for all New Yorkers until the marijuana debate gets a resolution nationally.
Some Pot Users May Still Be Arrested
De Blasio also announced that people without ID, drivers, and parolees will still be taken into custody if they are caught smoking weed in public.
New York City’s pot policies have been criticized for being discriminatory against minorities. Research has shown that racial minorities are more likely to be arrested on marijuana charges than white people.
Manhattan and Brooklyn unveiled that they plan to no longer prosecute people because of marijuana possession or use in public.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is working on legalizing weed statewide. He instructed his health commissioner to find the pros and cons of marijuana usage. On Monday, he announced that there are “new facts” which suggest pot does more good than harm.
The report hasn’t been released yet, so critics have blasted Cuomo for delaying things and not pushing for legalization this year. Also, marijuana advocates are concerned that the governor might change his mind on the issue after the September primary.
Image Source: Bill de Blasio/Flickr