Many people across the country have been excited to witness the changes in cannabis legislation in various states. From Alaska and Oregon residents voting to legalize recreational marijuana to cities in Texas trying out a pilot decriminalization program, the political climate of marijuana acceptance is clearly shifting. Naturally, the social aspect will experience adjustments as well.
Since the decriminalization of cannabis in New York, arrests have reportedly been down 60 percent. Under the new regulations, law enforcement can no longer arrest residents for possessing 25 grams or less of cannabis. Instead, people will be issued a ticket ranging from $100 to $250. If they are caught with more than 25 grams, they will incur a misdemeanor charge and a high possibility of incarceration for at least three months. It’s still completely illegal to sell any amount of marijuana and offenders will automatically be fined and face jail time.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio is proud of the decrease in arrests, recognizing that previous tactics employed by law enforcement haven’t been useful or effective. Instead, they have needlessly ruined the lives of people who don’t deserve to be treated as criminals.
“Too many New Yorkers without any prior convictions have been arrested for low-level marijuana possession. Black and Latino communities have been disproportionately affected. There have been, in some cases, disastrous consequences for individuals and families,” de Blasio said.
Hopefully these news changes continue to prompt law enforcement to work towards improving the lives of the people they are hired to protect, instead of arresting them. Just last month, de Blasio also called for the New York Police Department to drop the buy-and-bust operations that have also been shown to target people of color.
Have you ever been arrested for cannabis possession? Share your experience in the comments.