The New York City Police Department concluded that a large number of marijuana arrests had no public safety benefits. The arrests were a result of resident complaints.
Officials briefed on their new plans for marijuana complaints. If someone is caught smoking in public, they will be given a criminal summons instead of being arrested. However, those who are on probation or parole, have a warrant, don’t have identification, or sitting in the driver’s seat will get arrested if caught smoking in public. Cops can also make an arrest if they persuade a supervisor that it’s the right approach.
So in other words, the city is endorsing a strategy in which police officers will continue to arrest people who are caught smoking weed in public, but only if they have a criminal record. This new approach still targets minorities because Black people are arrested for low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate as white people in NYC over the past three years. Despite the fact that surveys suggest that whites and Blacks use marijuana at the same rate.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an interview with NY1 on Monday that the goal of the new policy was to end unnecessary arrests and reduce the racial disparities in those arrested.