Manhattan District Attorney Will No Longer Prosecute Minor Marijuana Cases

As the city and district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn are moving toward easing the way they enforce marijuana laws the Island's District Attorney Michael Mc Mahon has declined to take a position on the issue

"The dual mission of the Manhattan DA's Office is a safer NY and a more equal justice system", said District Attorney Cy Vance.

- Just as some members of the New York City Council denounced the racial disparities in marijuana arrests, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the NYPD will change how it enforces marijuana laws.

Also on Tuesday, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the NYPD will form a 30-day working group to address marijuana-related issues, which will consult several experts, including the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, advocacy organizations, those involved in academics, and attorneys.

"Given New York's embarrassing history as the marijuana arrest capital of the world, we must focus on repairing the harms of prohibition and ending the biased policing practices that have ruined the lives of so many young Black and Latino New Yorkers". "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 policy".

Recognizing the racial disparities inherent in enforcement and negative collateral consequences for those charged, Vance has advocated for the statutory decriminalization of marijuana possession since 2012. We're not looking to arrest any people of color that have no nexus to violence, to crime or violence.

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The mayor's comments, delivered at a progressive policy conference in Washington that he had already planned to attend, came as the district attorneys in Brooklyn and Manhattan were working on plans to stop prosecuting the vast majority of people arrested for marijuana. Last year, 86 percent of those arrested for low-level marijuana possession were black and Hispanic.

"This is not what our city is about", Johnson added.

NY is one of 29 U.S. states to have legalised marijuana for medical use to help patients with cancer, HIV, Parkinson's, epilepsy and other conditions. As a result, 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.

"Now the grandchild of stop-and-frisk is marijuana arrests based on race", Sharpton said.

"This is the classic story of a tale of two cities, where it reads if you're black and smoke marijuana you go to jail, and if you are white and smoke marijuana, you still go to Yale", said Councilman Donovan Richards.

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