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New York Metropolis to cease arresting individuals for low-level marijuana offenses

New York Metropolis officers introduced Tuesday that they’re reforming insurance policies for arresting and prosecuting individuals accused of low-level marijuana offenses.

Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district lawyer, stated his workplace will decline to prosecute marijuana possession and smoking instances beginning Aug. 1, citing “a new effort to reduce inequality and unnecessary interactions with the criminal justice system.”

“The dual mission of the Manhattan DA’s office is a safer New York and a more equal justice system,” stated Mr. Vance, a Democrat. “The ongoing arrest and criminal prosecution of predominantly black and brown New Yorkers for smoking marijuana serves neither of these goals.”

The New York Police Division will overhaul its insurance policies for imposing pot legal guidelines within the subsequent 30 days, Mayor Invoice de Blasio stated Tuesday, including the town “must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement.”

The NYPD arrested practically 17,000 individuals for low-level marijuana offenses in 2017, and about roughly 86 p.c of these had been both black or Hispanic, in response to information from the New York State’s Division of Legal Justice Providers.

“The NYPD does not target people based on race or other demographics,” Commissioner James O’Neill stated Tuesday. “But there are differences in arrest rates, and they have persisted going back many years, long before this current administration. We need an honest assessment about why they exist, and balance it in the context of the public safety needs of all communities.”

“The NYPD has no interest in arresting New Yorkers for marijuana offenses when those arrests have no impact on public safety,” Mr. O’Neil stated in a press release, including working group will evaluate present insurance policies for imposing legal guidelines in opposition to possession and publicly smoking marijuana “in the fairest way possible.”

An evaluation carried out by Mr. Vance’s workplace discovered that the the variety of marijuana instances prosecuted in Manhattan will plummet from round 5,000 per yr to about 200 as soon as the coverage change is applied, or a discount of about 96 p.c.

One borough over, in the meantime, Brooklyn District Legal professional Eric Gonzalez issued a press release Tuesday supportive of the coverage change.

“I believe that low-level marijuana cases should be responded to with summonses rather than arrests,” Gonzalez stated. “Since 2014, the Brooklyn DA’s Office has led the way in declining to prosecute marijuana possession cases, resulting in a 75 percent decline in arrests citywide and confirming that such policy does not adversely affect public safety.”

New York state decriminalized marijuana possession in 1977 and legalized medical marijuana in 2014, however smoking pot in “public view” presently stays an arrestable offense in Manhattan and elsewhere.

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