In his last State of the City address this afternoon, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg
announced a change to the city’s marijuana possession laws.
Under the new policy
which starts next month, those caught for possession of marijuana in the city will be ticketed and released until their court date.
Currently, New York
has a staggering arrest rate for marijuana possession. In the last decade, there have been 400,038 marijuana possession arrests, costing the city $600 million dollars.
“Right now, those arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana are often held in custody overnight. We’re changing that,” said Bloomberg. “Effective next month, anyone presenting an I.D. and clearing a warrant check will be released directly from the precinct with a desk appearance ticket to return to court. It’s consistent with the law, it’s the right thing to do and it will allow us to target police resources where they’re needed most.”
Mayor Bloomberg's announcement comes on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal last month to decriminalize
possession of under 15 grams of marijuana.
“There’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record,” said Bloomberg. “Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. And we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But I’ll tell you, we won’t wait for that to happen.”
Bloomberg's full speech can be read here