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Manhattan to scrap majority of marijuana prosecutions

17 May 2018

It is part of a wider effort by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NY police department to review how law enforcement deals with low-level marijuana crime. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark asked the NYPD to give criminal summonses instead of arrests, while Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon said they would wait until after the police review is completed. "The NYPD has no interest in arresting New Yorkers for marijuana offenses when those arrests have no impact on public safety. Ultimately, the best way to address the disparities and challenges posed by prohibition is to create a system to tax and regulate marijuana that will reinvest in communities that have been most harmed by the marijuana arrest crusade", Frederique continued.

Vance said that while the Manhattan DA's office will decline to prosecute all related cases, he will hear limited exceptions if the mayor or police commissioner demonstrate there is a concern to public safety. "We must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement - it's time for those to be a thing of the past, in New York City and all over this country".

Is this a first step towards making marijuana legal in New York State? This is the kind of change we can make, but we can make it because of all the changes that came before, and this is the point I will conclude with: "each change builds the next one".

The Manhattan district attorney's office said Tuesday it will no longer prosecute people for possessing and smoking marijuana, a move that will sharply reduce the low-level criminal charges that overwhelmingly affect black and Hispanic people.

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Even in Brooklyn and Manhattan, District Attorneys are still reserving the right to prosecute individuals for minor pot possession if they already have criminal records.

"The dual mission of the Manhattan D.A.'s Office is a safer NY and a more equal justice system".

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Vance found that punishments imposed after pot possession cases go to court are nearly non-existent - yet the arrests themselves hurt people's chances of getting a job or staying in the country if they are immigrants.

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The issue of marijuana arrests was highlighted by a New York Times report on the persistent racial gap in marijuana arrests. "It has long-term consequences, and I felt that was just wrong". We're not looking to arrest any people of color that have no nexus to violence, to crime or violence. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

The Times also debunked the NYPD explanation for the disparities, which the police attribute to more 311 and 911 complaints in certain neighborhoods.

"The grandchild of stop-and-frisk is marijuana arrests based on race", he said.

The D.A.'s Office today released a report "Marijuana, Fairness and Public Safety: A Report on the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in the United States" publicizing its findings, which helped to inform the Office's new policy.

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Manhattan to scrap majority of marijuana prosecutions