Police officers in New York will finally stop arresting people for smoking weed on city streets and in public parks. Responding to statistical data that has shown a prevalence of racially-biased marijuana policing, NYPD cops will cease filing cannabis consumption charges altogether this fall. Police precincts in white neighborhoods across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and more field the same number of pot calls as precincts with majority black and latino residents, but make less than half as many arrests.
Announced to NYPD officers over the weekend, de Blasio will push to end public cannabis consumption arrests as part of a 30-day review of the department’s marijuana policy. In addition to issuing summons instead of jail time for smoking a joint in Times Square, de Blasio announced a new task force responsible for sussing out the Big Apple’s future if legislators do move to legalize the sweet leaf in coming years.
During his tenure as Mayor, de Blasio had previously instructed NYPD officers to issue citations instead of arrests for minor marijuana possession, but in the years since, statistics have shown that those arrests have persisted. That leaves the upcoming summer months, when most New Yorkers prefer to unwind outdoors, subject to the city’s status quo pot policing.