Mayor Bill de Blasio to Instruct NYPD to Stop Arresting New Yorkers for Marijuana

Press Release May 21, 2018
Media Contact

Melissa Moore 646-470-2827
Jeremy Saunders 917-676-8041

The Daily News is reporting that New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio is creating an official task force to prepare for when marijuana is legalized in New York and will also direct the NYPD to stop arresting people for marijuana; both public burning and low-level possession will receive summonses only under the policy shift.

Below is a statement from the Drug Policy Alliance and VOCAL-NY.

“After decades of community-led efforts to reduce the harms caused by racially-biased enforcement of marijuana prohibition, New York City appears poised to take another step forward to curb arrests further. It is essential that the new NYPD policy on marijuana–which Mayor de Blasio has thus far not shared publicly–cannot include carve outs based on, for example, criminal record, or parole/probation status; does not provide police with vague discretionary authority to arrest for “public safety” justifications; and corrects rather than exacerbates the current targeting of Black and Latino New Yorkers by NYPD for marijuana summonses. With the City finally acknowledging that enforcing marijuana prohibition is futile, and pressure from advocates to address the legacy of racial disparities from enforcement, it is the City’s duty to systematically address the harms and collateral consequences of past marijuana arrests – through record sealing and restoration of rights – and to ensure that implementation includes revisions of regressive marijuana policies at other City agencies such as NYCHA and Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).”    

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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