New York City Officials Announce Plan To Halt Minor Marijuana Arrests

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 11, 2014

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton publicly announced plans yesterday to halt the NYPD’s practice of arresting tens of thousands of minor marijuana offenders annually.

    Under the new plan, set to take effect November 19, city police would issue first-time marijuana offenders a summons, payable by a fine, in lieu of making a criminal arrest.

    Though the Mayor and the Police Commissioner have made pledges in the past to reduce the city’s marijuana arrest totals, which average nearly 30,000 per year, they have previously failed to do so. Of those arrested for minor marijuana offenses in New York City, a disproportionate percentage (86 percent) are either Black or Latino. Nearly three out of four arrested possessed no prior criminal record.

    Although New York state law classifies minor marijuana possession offenses as a non-criminal offense, separate penal law (NY State Penal Law 221.10) defines marijuana possession in a manner that is ‘open to public view’ as an arrestable offense.

    Mayor de Blasio called the City’s proposed depenalization policy “a smart policy that keeps New Yorkers safe, but it is also a more fair policy.”

    26 responses to “New York City Officials Announce Plan To Halt Minor Marijuana Arrests”

    1. Brittany says:

      You gotta keep the public “safe” from those pot heads! LOL, is this really 2014?! C’mon New York!

    2. David says:

      F*** mayor de blasio, and F*** governor cuomo, they are inconsiderate assholes who only want the city and state to look like what they comprehend in their bias ass minds. Without even considering what the people want. Half of the f***in citizens in ny didn’t even wanna vote for him. It’s only because he’s the only f***in democratic candidate out there.

    3. Julian says:

      Oh thank God! Right before my spring trip to the Big City! Oh yeah… (And the millions of black and latino New Yorkers who have been disproportionately incarcerated over the last 45 years… Im sure they’ll appreciate this too). 🙂

      What took you so long DeBlasio? I mean besides the military-drug-industrial-complex? :-/

    4. David says:

      I really believe that this is an issue that the people of nyc and my state have to vote on. I really believe there is a lot of bias in the government officials decision to maintain the current policy’s. For too long have the city and state of my have been controlled by bias government office and we had no choice. Let the people decide if herb should be legals and not the people who only want the world to look like they want it

      [Paul Armentano responds: New York state does not possess a voter initiative process; thus, all changes must take place legislatively.]

    5. Galileo Galilei says:

      AJ Anslinger testified “The main reason for making marijuana illegal was its effect on the degenerate races…When a darkie smokes marijuana he thinks he’s just as good as a white man.”

      a disproportionate percentage (86 percent) are either Black or Latino.

      But we’re told it’s not racist.

      This is as Orwellian as the 1984 slogans:
      War is peace.
      Freedom is slavery.
      Ignorance is strength.

    6. End of the Rope says:

      I feel so very sorry for the people and patients of New York. What a cowardly bunch of narrow-minded criminals the local government is. It is clear to most that Cannabis is going to be legalized. The Mayor and the Police Commissioner and every other likeminded fool that continues to stick their heads in the sand are doing an incredible injustice to the people that will never be forgotten. This mayor and all that follow him should be kicked to the curb.

    7. TheOracle says:

      If you miss the court date in the summons they issue a warrant for your arrest. Once you appear in court, and get off with just a fine that does not guarantee you won’t lose your license (driver’s or license for your profession). The court cases are available online these days.

      This change is not going to stop the problem of police going after the low-hanging fruit that is the cannabis consumer.

      IMHO DeBlasio is still a case of that old Who song about the new boss being the same as the old boss, and shit, we got fooled again.

      A policy going along with this of not being able to spend any public time or money or actually processing the paperwork so that no court dates are set and consequently no summons can be issued. This leaves it up to the honor system for people to pay their fines, and I’m sure the city government wants that money.

      If not that way, then if the fine is paid within in so many days, a court date will NOT be set and subsequently a summons will NOT be issued. Then employers and the prohibitionists will NOT find you in the public records for it.

      Did I mention Nathan Edelmann is hot!

    8. TheOracle says:

      Ethan Edelmann maybe could influence this.

    9. Voice of the Resistance says:

      Come to Idaho and lawmakers are saying; that’s ok for New York but wrong for Idaho. We are still getting busted here.

    10. who dat says:

      It would seem to me that this action being taken by the Mayor of NYC would be received as a positive step to a more sensible marijuana possession policy in the city. But after reading through the comments, I’m left to wonder, am I missing something here?