Bill De Blasio to End Public Smoking Arrests

Bill De Blasio Wants To End Public Smoking Arrests

New York City Mayor,  Bill De Blasio,  has called for the NYPD to no longer arrest those found smoking marijuana in public.

Marijuana is currently still illegal in New York, and smoking in public can lead to an arrest by the NYPD.  De Blasio has recommended that instead of arresting those found smoking marijuana in public, individuals should be issued with a summons or ‘pink ticket’. This would be the same protocol that is currently used for individuals found in possession of a small amount of marijuana.

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Racial Bias

This effort to relax New York’s approach in  dealing with marijuana related arrests comes after implications of racial bias by the NYPD were  raised.  86% of individuals arrested for possession last year were black or  Hispanic, despite use of the drug being  fairly equal  between whites and people of color. De Blasio has stated that he will not tolerate these disparities, and that he  wants to close the  gap,  stating “We  must  and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in  enforcement”.

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Future Legalization

De Blasio has  publicly acknowledged that  marijuana legalization  is likely to be introduced sooner rather than later.  In  a statement issued to the public, De Blasio  said,  “With  marijuana  legalization  likely to occur in our state in the near future, it is critical our city plans for the public  safety, health,  and financial consequences involved”.

De Blasio has also ordered the NYPD to create a taskforce to prepare for  legalization of recreational marijuana, and the NYPD confirmed in a public statement that they had a developed a working group. Police spokesperson Phil  Walzak  stated that the working group would be focused on reviewing changes to the law and making sure that enforcement of the law would be as fair and unbiased as possible.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is also preparing for the legalization of recreational marijuana, stating that from August 1st  he would no longer prosecute cases of marijuana smoking and possession. Vance has also acknowledged the unfair targeting of minorities in marijuana related  arrests, and  has stated that these arrests do not reflect the city’s goal of a fairer justice system for all New  Yorkers, regardless of race.

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Marijuana  legalization  is currently a hot topic in the race for governor of New York  also, with  gubernatorial  candidate Cynthia Nixon  saying  she will  legalize  marijuana if she is elected. Nixon is  competing with current governor Andrew Cuomo for the democratic nomination.  Cuomo has previously said he is against the legalization of marijuana, however,  he has stated that his stance could change.

The post Bill De Blasio to End Public Smoking Arrests first appeared on CBD Village UK.

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