According to an announcement made by the New York Police Department on Tuesday (Jun. 19), marijuana offenses will be far less strict, and those who are caught smoking herb in public will instead be issued with a summons. Users who are caught without proper ID, have a criminal warrant or documented history of violence or whose smoking “poses an immediate public safety risk” might still be arrested.
“The NYPD has in the past been accused of arresting a disproportionate number of people of color for marijuana-related offenses,” the site reads. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the changes mark a day “where we step into the future.”
Despite law enforcement efforts Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez noted that there were clear racial disparities in marijuana-related arrests. However, Police Commissioner James O’Neill stated that there haven’t been race-related marijuana arrests.
“When it comes to marijuana we always need to ensure that our enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness that are at the root of our neighborhood policing philosophy,” he said.
Hopefully these changes are a step in the right direction.