One must ask what power does the mayor have over the Police Dept when it says the Police will not go after smokers and if anything it will be a violation which is a ticket and fine if the alleged smoker is found guilty. On the other hand maybe the mayors' office has changed its policy without bothering to announce it. Jeff Sessions is going after states that don't have restrictions on pot and maybe this all stirring up the pot issue in NYC. [adamfoxie*]
Stoners still face a significant risk of arrest in New York City — in spite of a City Hall push to decriminalize small amounts of pot, according to the Legal Aid Society.
Legal Aid lawyers handled 5,934 pot cases involving misdemeanor charges and violations from Jan. 1 to Aug. 11, down only slightly from the 6,180 recorded during the corresponding span last year, according to records kept by the organization.
In July — the month with the highest number of Legal Aid-handled marijuana cases — lawyers dealt with 867 pot busts. February saw the fewest, with 644.
“At a minimum, what these numbers are saying is that despite some good effort to reduce the number of people who have marijuana charges coming through the criminal justice system . . . we still have a bit of a way to go,” said Tina Luongo, who runs Legal Aid’s criminal practice.
Cops busted 60,000 for pot in de Blasio's first three years
Advocates say the spirit of the 2014 policy shift was to drastically reduce the number of blacks and Latino New Yorkers who become saddled with open cases that can keep them from being productive members of society.
Austin Finan, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio, said the new pot policy is in full swing and the numbers are heading in the right direction, down 37% since 2013.
“This administration has led a dramatic shift away from unnecessary arrests for low-level marijuana offenses in favor of summonses,” Finan said.
Citywide, there were 9,968 arrests for marijuana possession through July 9, down 5% from the 10,498 in the corresponding period last year, according to NYPD records.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS