'New York, NY – After multiple district attorneys in the state announced that they will refuse to prosecute people who are arrested for possessing marijuana, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking marijuana in public.
Although small-time possession is not currently a jailable offense, people can still be arrested if they are caught smoking in public. Despite these recent changes with cannabis laws in the city, possession and public smoking can still carry a fine and court summons, and any changes to the NYPD’s policy in regards to public smoking will not take effect until the end of the summer.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Phil Walzak confirmed with CNN that the department will be adopting this new policy.
“The working group is reviewing possession and public smoking of marijuana to ensure enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness and trust, while also promoting public safety and addressing community concerns,” Walzak said.
Last week, The Free Thought Project reported that New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced that his office will refuse to prosecute people for possessing and smoking marijuana.
However, it is important to recognize that de Blasio is not necessarily a supporter of legalizing cannabis—he is simply a politician who is moving with the cultural tides, and making sure that he is able to benefit from the changes that are coming.
“With marijuana legalization likely to occur in our state in the near future, it is critical our city plans for the public safety, health and financial consequences involved. While I still have real concerns we must work through, it isn’t difficult to see where this is headed, and any responsible policymaker must prepare for that eventuality. My focus now will be helping to craft the critical regulatory framework that must come before legalization is realized,” de Blasio said.
The majority public opinion on cannabis has changed radically in the past several years, as more states continue to legalize the plant and prove that it is not a danger to society, and actually has a variety of benefits.
Read more: New York City Mayor Disobeys Feds—Orders NYPD To Stop Arresting People For Smoking Pot