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NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Starting Next Month, No Jail for Marijuana Possession

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director February 14, 2013

    Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new marijuana policy for the city during his State of the City address.

    Mayor Bloomberg, who previously stood with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his call for fixing New York’s marijuana laws, reiterated that support, but said his city won’t wait for Albany on this issue.

    But we know that there’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record. Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor and we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But we won’t wait for that to happen.

    Right now, those arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana are often held in custody overnight. We’re changing that. Effective next month, anyone presenting an ID and clearing a warrant check will be released directly from the precinct with a desk appearance ticket to return to court. It’s consistent with the law, it’s the right thing to do and it will allow us to target police resources where they’re needed most.

    -Mayor Bloomberg

    Under current law, possession of marijuana for personal use in private is punishable by a ticket, but possession of marijuana open to public view or being burnt in public is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 with a maximum sentence of 90 days.

    This initiative could go a long way towards correcting the draconic policy currently in place in the city, which disproportionately effects people of color and costs taxpayers about 75 million dollars a year in enforcement and prosecution costs. New York City is the marijuana arrest capitol of the world, with 50,684 arrests for marijuana offenses in 2011 alone, hopefully this action from the mayor will encourage his fellow New Yorkers in Albany to cease the arrest of marijuana consumers across the state.

    You can view the full text of Mayor Bloomberg’s speech here.

    43 Responses to “NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Starting Next Month, No Jail for Marijuana Possession”

    1. Brit says:

      Maybe other states that haven’t legalized cannabis yet will lee son charges too.

    2. Tim LaBard says:

      Must be an election year. Bloomberg-You can keep your weed, but I’m still coming for your guns!

    3. Too bad we cannot read the things in the letter ( it’s too light in places ) but i get the point . The problem i have with this is that it’s 100 years too late and marijuana consumers are still being punished & those who engage in criminal and reckless behavior while intoxicated from alcohol will generally get off without penalties .

    4. Demon O'Brien says:

      This is fantastic news! & I guess he really does care, since he’s doing this, yet you can’t buy a 20oz Coca~Cola in NYC!!! LOL!!!

    5. ryan says:

      which disproportionately *affects* people of color

    6. TheOracle says:

      Well, in that case I’m looking forward to private clubs for cannabis opening up where you can bring your own and smoke your own. It’s not in public, and if the clubs don’t advertise it’ll be quite a while before the cops find out. And then, they’ll have to get search warrant and all that shit to raid the place, only to have everyone rounded off get off with a fine.

      Once the camel’s nose is in the tent, Governor Cuomo and Albany may as well legalize.

    7. Victoria says:

      He’s trying to reduce violent crime. Weed doesn’t kill people. Guns kill 30 – 50 people per day in US.

      Good job Mayor Bloomberg!

    8. john says:

      haha 100 years to late???? prohibition isnt even 80 years old yet bro

    9. Old Hippie says:

      First thing Bloomberg has done that I agree with!

    10. THIS IS TRUE ABOUT THE ALCOHOL THAY GET A SLAP ON THE HANDS NO CUFFS AND THAY DO NOT GO DIRECLIY TO JAIL THAY GET A TICKET AND TOLD DON’T DRIVE BUT 2 TO 3 HOURS LATER THERE BEING PULLED OVER AGAIN ONLY THIS TIME THAY HAVE HAD AN ACSADENT AND THEN THAY MIGHT HAVE TO GO SLEEP IT OFF IN THE TANK THEN THERE OUT THE NEXT DAY AND DRINKING AGAIN AND HOW MENY TIMES DO THAY HAVE TO GET CAUGHT BEFOR THERE IN PRIZON OR JAIL THAY DON’T BECAUSE THAY KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT SMOKE A JOINT GUESS WHAT YOUR IN PRIZON FOR YEARS OR GROW IT. BUT DRUNKS KILL I NOW I LOST MY AUNT AND NOTHING WAS DONE
      BUT GOD FORBIB IF WE WHAT TO SMOKE A JOINT OR BUY IT OR GROW IT WE SIT IN JAIL OR PRIZON AND THE LAW LETS ALCOHOLS GO FREE AND THAY KILL MORE THEN ANYONE

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