New York City’s Homeless Youth Face Harsher Punishment for Cannabis Crimes than Housed Peers – News

Lead photo via Flickr user David Shankbone

It’s no secret that the New York City Police Department has a problem with marijuana arrests. Even with decriminalization as the law of the land and Mayor de Blasio decrying possession arrests as a relic of the past, police stats say otherwise, with thousands of mostly black and brown residents still being charged for minor marijuana offenses every year. For NYC’s homeless and sheltered youth, the story is no better, and a recently enacted series of cannabis-related law enforcement protocols is creating an even more unstable situation for one of the city’s most vulnerable populations.

According to an investigation from the New York Post, ever since the NYPD took over security duties at the city’s homeless shelters earlier this year, children ages 7-15 who are found possessing marijuana have been handcuffed, brought to their local police precinct, processed, and made to wait in a holding cell until a parent or guardian can come pick them up.

On the other side of the coin, students at New York City Public Schools who are caught with weed are held on campus, given a juvenile report summons, and are allowed to immediately…

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