NYPD announced began enforcing their new policy for arresting people that are caught smoking marijuana in public. Beginning September 1, 2018, the nations largest police force will stop automatically arresting people and instead let individual officers make decisions using their own discretion.
“Our new policy, we’re going to see a humongous drop in people in communities of color being arrested for marijuana,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said during a press conference announcing the change. “And that was one of the whole goals of this whole new policy.”
The department originally announced the coming change on June 19, 2018, citing that it would reduce drug arrests by up to 10,000 people and that it has no bearing on public safety in most cases.
“Today is a day where we take a step into the future,” Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at the time.
“When it comes to marijuana we always need to ensure that our enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness that are at the root of our neighborhood policing philosophy,” New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said at the conference. “The bottom line is, and I’ve said this probably many times before, the NYPD has no interest in arresting people for marijuana offenses.”
A NYPD task force, at the request of Mayor de Blasio, did a review of their marijuana policies earlier in 2018 where they collaborated with cannabis advocates and criminal justice experts to determine what policy changes could be enacted. NYC has had a long history of disproportionately arresting people of color for marijuana use and possession.
Arrests for marijuana use will still be made in some cases. Anyone caught driving, anyone who refuses to show an ID, or anyone with an outstanding warrant will still be arrested according to the department.
Image by Jordan Amacher for Cannabis 21 taken at Seattle Hempfest and is featured in the article “Bong Rip Heard Around The World“
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