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Too many people of color arrested so NYC must overhaul pot policy

17 May 2018

In response to the reports and announcement to policy changes, the NYPD is denying targeted marijuana arrests despite numbers proving otherwise. "The number of arrests in that precinct, the 76th Precinct, were 246 arrests".

"I believe that low-level marijuana cases should be responded to with summonses rather than arrests", Gonzalez said. "When people are being forced to miss work or miss out on time with their family over a low level marijuana arrest, something is very wrong with our public policy". "Since 2014, the Brooklyn DA's Office has led the way in declining to prosecute marijuana possession cases, resulting in a 75 percent decline in arrests citywide and confirming that such policy does not adversely affect public safety".

As the idea of recreational marijuana becoming legal in NY advances, Mayor Bill de Blasio and several lawmakers took a huge step this week when it comes to arrests over the drug that unfairly targets citizens of color.

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.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases beginning in August, his office announced Tuesday, following a six-month review of public safety in jurisdictions where marijuana is no longer criminally prosecuted.

During a City Council hearing Tuesday, Police Commissioner James O'Neill acknowledged a racial disparity but denied that officers target people of color for arrests.

Federal statistics show similar rates of marijuana use among whites, blacks and Hispanics, but about 87 percent of people arrested for pot in New York City are black or Hispanic. "We need an honest assessment about why they exist, and balance it in the context of the public safety needs of all communities".

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NY state decriminalized marijuana possession in 1977 and legalized medical marijuana in 2014, but smoking pot in "public view" now remains an arrestable offense in Manhattan and elsewhere.

He said the working group would include a "diverse" number of police brass, who would consult with experts including advocacy groups and defense lawyers.

Red Hook in Brooklyn had 88 calls to 311 and 911, but 246 arrests.

"The grandchild of stop-and-frisk is marijuana arrests based on race", he said. "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. "People have to feel, they have to see that policing is being applied consistently across all different kinds of communities". However, these days it's becoming legal in some states. Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon made the same argument, saying it would be a form of "reparations" - comments criticized by Sharpton and other black leaders.

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Too many people of color arrested so NYC must overhaul pot policy