January 14, 2019

May 24, 2018 

When it comes to cannabis reforms, NYC is not an example one would want to bring up. However, with the city mayor’s last week’s ‘executive order’ to decriminalize pot-smoking, things have improved all of a sudden. The decision has been getting a lot of traction from cannabis advocates and opponents both.  

One of the primary reasons given by Blasio and the district attorney to take up this measure is to reduce racial disparity in the city, which gets aggravated by disproportionate marijuana-related arrests. However, not everyone is agreed with the administration’s altered policy on the enforcement of cannabis laws. For instance, NYPD sergeant union is censuring the mayor’s order to disallow marijuana arrests.

Last week, de Blasio has made two important announcements that have agitated NYPD sergeant union. The mayor announced to make a special task force that would assess the city’s existing rules and regulations on cannabis and then make recommendations to improve them. Secondly, de Blasio directed the city police to stop rounding up people who are caught smoking marijuana.   

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio – Image powered by Crainsnewyork.com

The later announcement is the main reason why NYPD leaders are criticizing the administration. Ed Mullins is the president of the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association and he is the one who is leading the opposition to this decision. Mullins is of the belief that the decision will put police officers in a great quandary when it comes to the implementation of the law. He has also tried to establish his point with an example. Residents are calling NYPD to deal and crack down on pot-smoking in public and the officers are not allowed to make any arrests, how that will affect law enforcement in the city? Mullins asks. 

Mullins says that proper legislative route is the right way to implement decriminalization of cannabis instead of issuing provisional orders. Mullins has made a valid point. A legislative approval has the patronage of public approval and that makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to follow the orders. 

It is worth mentioning that de Blasio has previously ordered to not arrest people with the possession of a minor amount of cannabis. To follow the orders, many officers started to write summonses to the caught individuals instead of arresting them. 

This actually resulted in a drop in marijuana arrests. However, the latest report from the district attorney has pointed out that cannabis arrests are still rampant and adding up to the racial disparities in the city. 

NYPD leaders
NYPD leaders – Image powered by Worldreligionnews.com

Therefore, the mayor and district offices have jointly agreed on stopping the city’s primary law enforcement from arresting weed-smoking individuals. The intent of this measure is the same i.e. to decrease racial discrimination in the city.  

Interestingly, de Blasio is not an advocate of the blanket legalization of cannabis, but he now admits that it’s just the matter of time. The proposed changes and orders will come into effect by the end of summer. Until then, we have to see how the tension between NYPD leaders and the city administration pans out.

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]


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