June 25, 2018, NYC
Last week, Instead, they will receive a judicial summons. Blasio is of the thought that it will cut down the number of annual arrests of cannabis by thousands. Some rough estimates suggest that around 10,000 fewer NYC residents will be arrested if the policy is effectively implemented.
It’s More About Racial Inequality
In New York City alone, more than 17,500 cannabis-related arrests are made every year. A large number of arrestees belong to color communities. According to a report furnished by New York Times, black individuals are eight times more at risk of getting arrested as compared to whites, even though there is no difference in their levels of usage. The report has also found out that law enforcement agencies are more diligent in acting upon the complaints they receive from neighborhoods with the majority of the color population.
This is the major reason why Mayor Blasio wants to enforce the policy of decriminalization. He promised to end this faulty law enforcement practices before assuming the office of mayor. However, no change has been witnessed yet regarding cannabis-related arrests.
Basio’s Announcement is not a Formal Piece of Legislation
It is important to understand that what Basio has been reiterating from time to time is not part of any legislation. It is more of a verbal directive to the city law enforcement officials to stop arresting people smoking marijuana in public or have a minor amount of cannabis on them.
This means it’s a very fragile sort of cannabis reform. For instance, NYPD personnel are not legally obligated to act upon the policy. Similarly, things can be changed altogether with the transition in the mayor’s office. In addition, the policy will only be effective in NYC city alone. The rest of the state will treat cannabis with the same draconian laws.
The state of New York has also been suffering from regressive cannabis laws because of the lack of direct democratic measures. The states of Colorado and California have become the bastion of cannabis because of pieces of legislation led by direct democracy aka public ballot initiative.
Improvement is on the Way
Amid the current dilemmas of cannabis reforms in the state, there are still some developments that promise improvement. For instance, District attorney of Manhattan has announced his office will not prosecute low-level cannabis crimes from August. Similarly, the health department of New York is going to issue a report on the benefits of cannabis legalization.
It is interesting to note that a similar report was also furnished almost 80 years ago by the New York Academy of Medicines. The report concluded that marijuana didn’t play any determining role in fueling major crimes. The then federal bureau of narcotics didn’t pay any heed to the report and termed it unscientific.