Noting the racial disparity of marijuana arrests, the Manhattan DA's office said Tuesday that "large numbers of New Yorkers become further alienated from law enforcement and removed from community participation at an enormous cost to the criminal justice system, for virtually no punitive, rehabilitative or deterrent goal". Vance's office said the move could reduce Manhattan marijuana prosecutions from about 5,000 per year to about 200 per year - a 96 percent reduction.
"In the coming weeks, we will work with the Police Department and the mayor to identify the very small number of exceptions that raise public safety concerns, and any case that does not fall within these exceptions will no longer be prosecuted", he added.
A major investigation by the New York Times found continued racial disparities in marijuana enforcement and arrests in every neighborhood in the City.
A New York Times analysis published Sunday revealed that in New York City, black people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white people over the past three years.
The Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network was also in attendance at Monday's press conference and said policing issues when it comes to Blacks and Latinos stem from widespread arrests for marijuana possessions. In a speech before the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the mayor said the New York City Police Department will be overhauling its own marijuana arrest policy in the next 30 days.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez also announced Tuesday he would expand his office's efforts to not prosecute marijuana cases.
"The NYPD has no interest in arresting New Yorkers for marijuana offenses when those arrests have no impact on public safety", O'Neill said in a statement.
But the mayor said this week that more needs to be done to reduce marijuana arrests and target the racial disparity in enforcement.
We have been taught that marijuana is a "gateway" drug and that early use can predict future problems.
Under a policy de Blasio put in place in his first year in office, the NYPD now gives summonses when someone is found with marijuana in their possession, but not smoking it. "The number of arrests in that precinct, the 76th Precinct, were 246 arrests".
De Blasio did not provide any details of what the policy changes might entail. Although marijuana arrests dropped during de Blasio's tenure, there were still over 17,000 arrests in 2017. "But there are differences in arrest rates, and they have persisted going back many years, long before this current administration. Ultimately, the best way to address the disparities and challenges posed by prohibition is to create a system to tax and regulate marijuana that will reinvest in communities that have been most harmed by the marijuana arrest crusade", Frederique continued.
"The grandchild of stop and frisk is marijuana arrests based on race", Sharpton said. Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the left in the Democratic primary, has made marijuana legalization a central plank of her campaign platform.
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