May 23, 2018, NYC
There are many things wrong with how NYPD operates. Among the complaints against the leading law enforcement agency of NYC, disproportionate numbers of cannabis arrests resulting in minority persecution are very frequent. To address this grievance, city mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the local police will not arrest New Yorkers with minor cannabis possessions.
A report released by the New York’s district attorney has analyzed how marijuana laws are being implemented on state and federal level. According to the report, there is a persistent trend of racial discrepancies in the arrests made in connection with cannabis crimes. 85 percent of all the arrested people were from color communities (African-American and Hispanic). This high ratio of arrests doesn’t match with their population in the city. In addition, it has also pointed that the use of cannabis is equal among all the racial demographics of the city.
City Council Held a Session with NYPD
Before Blasio’s announcement, the city council held a meeting where they analyzed the statistics of the district attorney’s report and reprimanded NYPD for their never-ending approach to racial policing. NYPD put a very weak defense by asserting that they received more cannabis complaints from racial neighborhoods and hence there were more arrests of people of color.
However, the report also negates this claim because in neighborhoods where only 15 percent population belongs to color communities, more than 80 percent marijuana-related arrests were from minority groups. Moreover, the records of 911 and 31 calls are not supporting the NYPD’s defense.
Following the release of the report and NYPD’s grilling in the city council, Blasio last week announced reform and overhaul of cannabis policies of the city’s police. While speaking in a public event, he reassured that he would end needless cannabis arrests that reek of racial disparity. According to him, the proposed changes would be implemented in the next 30 days.
The mayor’s office and district attorney have started to devise a sound marijuana reform. As per a member of the city council, the mayor has directed NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking pot. The police will now issue court orders to the people involved in minor cannabis misdemeanors instead of taking them into custody. It is important to note that these court summons will not become part of a person’s criminal record.
The District Attorney has also announced that his office will not prosecute pot possession and smoking cases from the coming August. He is of the belief that such cases just result in the depletion of judicial resources. He also thinks that prosecution for minor cannabis charges leads to a racial policing and disparity that affect the whole communities. He also acknowledges that decriminalization of cannabis won’t curb all racial injustices.
Nevertheless, the mayor’s ban on cannabis arrests and the district attorney’s decision to not prosecute cannabis-related cases are significant steps toward a more marijuana-tolerated atmosphere. With multiple campaigns pushing for adult-use legalization in the city, it can be said that NYC is moving in the right direction.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]