Search Results for: NYPD

Marijuana Arrests Drop 40% This Year As NYPD Mellows Out

NEW YORK: Cops are following through on Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to stop locking people up for carrying small amounts of pot.

Police cuffed 18,120 stoners through Oct. 20 — a 40 percent plummet from the 29,906 pot busts in the same period last year, state Division of Criminal Justice records show.

At the same time, tickets for pot violations have surged. Cops handed out 13,081 low-level pot summonses through the end of September — and are on pace for more than 16,000 tickets. The NYPD issued 13,378 pot tickets for all of last year, and 13,316 tickets in 2013, records show.

City Hall ordered cops last year to ticket suspects they caught with 25 grams or less of marijuana instead of arresting them after district attorneys and activists clamored for drug decriminalization.

Metro New York: Bratton Says No More Concessions On NYPD’s Marijuana Policy

NEW YORK: NYPD’s top cop told Metro “under no circumstances” will the department make any further reforms on how it deals with marijuana arrests.

“We’ve made all the concessions we’re making regarding marijuana,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday.

His resolve comes days after City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and a handful of council members suggested to the de Blasio administration that the state and city should reconsider its marijuana policies.

Bratton explained that he and Mayor Bill de Blasio have “a very different perspective” on the issue than City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

 

MPP Op-Ed: Our Neighbor to The North

On Wednesday, marijuana sales will begin nationwide in Canada, making it the second country in the world — following Uruguay — with a federally legal adult-use marijuana industry.  Each Canadian province has developed its own system for how marijuana will be sold to adults. This will include government stores, private retailers, online government sales with delivery, or a mix of those approaches.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., nine states have legalized marijuana for adults’ use (although sales are allowed in only eight of them) and 30 states have comprehensive medical marijuana laws. Two more adult-use states and two more medical states may come on board on Election Day. But all this progress exists under the cloud of federal illegality.

Businesses in the U.S. have to contend with a myriad of problems caused by federal prohibition. Even MPP — a nonprofit organization that works to end marijuana prohibition — was dumped by our bank (we now have a new one) and our retirement fund briefly planned to drop us. In addition to banking challenges, U.S. cannabis businesses typically can’t accept credit cards, products can’t ship to retailers in other states, and most alarmingly, there is still the possibility of federal prosecution.

In addition to overriding federal law context, here is a comparison between the Canadian adult-use program and common features of U.S. state legalization laws:

  • Age: In Canada, provinces set the drinking age at either 18 or 19. The age limit is mirrored for cannabis. Meanwhile, all legalization states have set the age at 21, mirroring U.S. alcohol laws.
  • Edibles: For the first year, no edibles will be allowed in Canada. Initially, reports indicate only flower will be available. In contrast, every adult-use legalization law in the U.S. allows edibles and a myriad of other products, albeit with regulations. (However in Oregon during a transitional period, existing medical businesses were initially allowed to sell flower only to adult-use consumers.)
  • Public consumption: Every U.S. state that legalized marijuana prohibits marijuana smoking in public, although some allow for on-site consumption at specific adults-only establishments. In Canada, some provinces will allow cannabis smoking in certain locations that are open to the general public, although most or all ban it in locations that appeal to children.
  • Possession limit: In Canada, adult will be allowed to possess just over an ounce of cannabis (30 grams) outside the home. Possession limits for outside the home in legalization states vary from one ounce to 2.5 ounces.
  • Home cultivation: Canada is allowing home cultivation of four plants. All of the adult-use states but Washington allow home cultivation, although in Nevada only those living at least 25 miles away from the nearest retailer may grow their own cannabis.
  • Government involvement: Due to federal illegality, thus far U.S. state government have not directly participated in selling, distributing, or growing adult-use marijuana (although two public universities in Louisiana are involved in marijuana cultivation, and Utah plans to dispense medical cannabis). In contrast, there will government distribution systems in Canada and government stores and deliveries in some provinces.
  • Import/export: At this time, Canadian law does not allow the import or export of cannabis, although it does allow hemp exports. In light of federal prohibition, all state marijuana laws are set up as intrastate programs — with retailers purchasing only from product manufacturers and growers in the same state.

Marijuana_Policy_Project_logo

The Marijuana Policy Project has been at the forefront of legalization among the states as well as decriminalization for possession of cannabis.  Our efforts have removed the threat of local prosecution for citizens in 21 states and the District of Columbia. But we cannot rest on yesterday. We have to continue to push today for a better tomorrow.  Last year, the NYPD was still arresting African American and Latino youth for marijuana possession at a rate 9 times greater than Caucasian youth.  Currently, we continue to house hundreds of thousands of people for cannabis possession, leading to devastating collateral consequences in their lives, such as job loss or denial of parental rights.

MPP plans to keep growing the number of U.S. states where marijuana is legal for adults. With sufficient funding, we believe we can more than double the number of adult-use states within just a few years. Meanwhile, we aren’t losing sight of the need to change federal law. It’s easy to get complacent when the DEA isn’t busting down cannabis business’ doors. But, recent comments from Colorado’s top federal prosecutor should remind us all that there is an urgent need to change federal law so that state-legal marijuana businesses are no longer a crime.  Most critically, we still have over a 500,000 marijuana-related arrests and convictions each year in the United States.  Canadian jails are used for a better purpose.  Visit www.mpp.orgto learn more and join our mission.

Manhattan D.A. Vance Ends Prosecution Of Marijuana Possession And Smoking Cases

New “Decline-To-Prosecute” Policy Follows National Review of Public Safety in Jurisdictions Where Marijuana is no Longer Criminally Prosecuted

NEW YORK: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today released the D.A.’s Office’s new policy to decline to prosecute marijuana possession and smoking cases, effective tomorrow, August 1. The policy, which is included below, is expected to reduce Manhattan marijuana prosecutions from approximately 5,000 per year to fewer than 200 per year, a 96% reduction.

“Every day I ask our prosecutors to keep Manhattan safe and make our justice system more equal and fair,” said District Attorney Vance. “The needless criminalization of pot smoking frustrates this core mission, so we are removing ourselves from the equation. Our research has found virtually no public safety rationale for the ongoing arrest and prosecution of marijuana smoking, and no moral justification for the intolerable racial disparities that underlie enforcement. Tomorrow, our Office will exit a system wherein smoking a joint can ruin your job, your college application, or your immigration status, but our advocacy will continue. I urge New York lawmakers to legalize and regulate marijuana once and for all.”

The D.A.’s new “decline to prosecute” policy was distributed last week to Manhattan Assistant D.A.s, as well as to the New York City Police Department, Office of Court Administration, and public defense organizations.

DA Cy Vance

D.A. Renews Call on New York State to Legalize Marijuana

New Marijuana Policy

The full text of the policy follows.

Beginning on August, 1, 2018, the Office will no longer prosecute marijuana possession and smoking cases (PL § 221.10(1) and PL § 221.05). Assistant District Attorneys should use the new “DP-Marijuana” template in ACT6 to decline to prosecute an arrest. There are two limited exceptions to this policy. A prosecution may be appropriate in either of the following circumstances:

— Cases against sellers: Examples include observation sales where PL § 221.40 cannot be charged, or possession of large quantities of marijuana individually packaged for sale (10 bags or more).

— Demonstrated public safety threat: A case where there is additional information from the NYPD or from our Office which demonstrates that the individual otherwise poses a significant threat to public safety, and an Office supervisor agrees with that assessment. Examples include a defendant currently under active investigation for a violent offense or other serious crime.

Assistant District Attorneys must state on the record at arraignment that ‘the case falls within one of the limited exceptions to our marijuana policy.

Sealing Past Marijuana Convictions

In light of the D.A.’s new policy and the decriminalization of marijuana offenses in other states, the D.A.’s Office has been working with public defense organizations and criminal justice stakeholders to proactively seal past marijuana convictions en masse in Fall 2018.

Ending the Prosecution of Low-Level Offenses

Since 2010, D.A. Vance has markedly reduced unnecessary incarceration and collateral consequences in the justice system by ending the prosecution of tens of thousands of low-level offenses annually.

On February 1, 2018, D.A. Vance ended the criminal prosecution of subway fare evasion (known as “turnstile-jumping”), except in limited cases where there is a demonstrated public safety reason to prosecute the offense. In 2017, the D.A.’s Office prosecuted more than 8,000 fare evasion cases. In 2018, following the first six months of the D.A.’s “decline-to-prosecute” policy, Manhattan fare evasion prosecutions are down -96.4%. The D.A.’s policy also contributed to a 90% reduction in arrests for fare evasion in Manhattan. According to the NYPD, transit crime is down -4.51% citywide in 2018.

Marijuana, Fairness and Public Safety: A Report on the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in the United States

As described in the Report’s Executive Summary, “our office has, over the past several months, gathered data and conducted interviews with dozens of prosecutors, regulators, and law enforcement representatives from states that have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Our purpose was to understand the challenges that will need to be anticipated by lawmakers in our state. This work has yielded valuable insights into how responsibly to frame any future laws and regulations to avoid negative impacts on public safety.” The D.A.’s Office “stand[s] ready to advise and assist any participant in the important ongoing discussions about legislative reform of our state’s marijuana laws.”

The Report further notes that black and Hispanic individuals in neighborhoods of color continue to be arrested for marijuana offenses at much higher rates than their similarly situated counterparts in predominantly white communities. Such arrests can significantly impact job searches, schooling, family members, immigration status, and community involvement. Yet, sanctions imposed after arrest, fingerprinting, and court appearances are almost always minimal or non-existent. “As a result,” the Report concludes, “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 purpose.”

Preexisting Marijuana Policy

Recognizing the racial disparities inherent in enforcement and negative collateral consequences for those charged, District Attorney Vance has vocally advocated for the statutory decriminalization of marijuana possession since 2012. In 2017, D.A. Vance issued one of the most lenient marijuana policies in New York State, under which individuals accused for the first time of smoking in public received a 90-day Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (“ACD”), and those accused for the second time received a 180-day ACD. If these individuals remained arrest-free for the duration of these periods, their cases were dismissed and records were sealed.

Rolling Stone: The War On Drugs Is Burning Out

The conservative wave of 2014 featured an unlikely, progressive undercurrent: In two states, plus the nation’s capital, Americans voted convincingly to pull the plug on marijuana prohibition. Even more striking were the results in California, where voters overwhelmingly passed one of the broadest sentencing reforms in the nation, de-felonizing possession of hard drugs. One week later, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced an end to arrests for marijuana possession.

It’s all part of the most significant story in American drug policy since the passage of the 21st Amendment legalized alcohol in 1933: The people of this country are leading a dramatic de-escalation in the War on Drugs. 

November’s election results have teed up pot prohibition as a potent campaign issue for 2016. Notwithstanding the House GOP’s contested effort to preserve pot prohibition in D.C., the flowering of the marijuana-legalization movement is creating space for a more rational and humane approach to adjudicating users of harder drugs, both on the state level and federally. “The door is open to reconsidering all of our drug laws,” says Alison Holcomb, who led the pot-legalization push in Washington state in 2012, and has been tapped to direct the ACLU‘s new campaign against mass incarceration.

New Policy Could Reduce Marijuana Possession Arrests

NEW YORK:  Police will stop arresting people for low-level possession of marijuana and will instead simply issue a summons, sources said.

The NYPD and Mayor de Blasio are prepared to initiate a change in policy that would drastically reduce the number of arrests for possession of pot, according to law-enforcement sources.

The department had already been halting its pot “buy and bust” operations, a crime-fighting staple that often led to gun seizures and arrests for outstanding warrants, The Post had earlier reported.

Sources said that the “powers that be,” including City Hall, wanted to see a decrease in arrests for pot because they have “disastrous consequences’’ on police relations with minorities.

4/20 Redux: Watch the Fusion Marijuana Marathon

Yesterday Fusion aired a special day of 420 programming that examined the cultural, economic, and medicinal relevance of marijuana in America and took a satirical look at the many issues surrounding the legalization of pot.

Below are some of the highlights:

  • WATCH: Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly: Colorado Pot Legalization a Test Case for Nation
  • WATCH: The Cannabusiness Report: Who is the Wolf of Weed Street?
  • WATCH: Wiz Khalifa on How He Uses Pot When Writing Songs
  • WATCH: Don’t Be Fooled, Uruguay Is Not a Cannabis Republic
  • WATCH: A Mother Explains How Medical Marijuana Helped Save Her Autistic Son
  • WATCH: An Expert Explains the Different Types of Cannabis Used for Medical Marijuana

Portland Did Not Really Legalize Marijuana, But The Success Of Question 1 Is Still Good News

MAINE: Although voters in Portland, Maine, supposedly legalized marijuana on Tuesday, that is not really what happened. As I noted last month, Question 1, which received support from more than two-thirds of voters, merely eliminated local penalties for possession of up to two and and half ounces. Under state law, possessing pot in amounts below that cutoff remains a civil violation punishable by fines ranging from $350 to $1,000. [Read more…]

Marijuana Legalization: The Next Mayor Of New York Should Make This A Priority

NEW YORK: Advocates of marijuana reform have seen better than imagined success in recent years. With legalization victories in Washington and Oregon, what would the next step be for New York City? There have also been efforts in New York State to decriminalize small portions of marijuana for personal use, but those died in the NY senate. [Read more…]

Marijuana Legalization: The Next Mayor Of New York Should Make This A Priority

NEW YORK: Advocates of marijuana reform have seen better than imagined success in recent years. With legalization victories in Washington and Oregon, what would the next step be for New York City? There have also been efforts in New York State to decriminalize small portions of marijuana for personal use, but those died in the NY senate. [Read more…]