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NYC Decriminalizes Marijuana… 37 Years Late

An areil view of NYC lines a bright blue sky on the day NYC decriminalizes marijuana.

Joint Opinions

NYC Decriminalizes Marijuana… 37 Years Late

The long withstanding battle in New York City between stoners and the boys in blue has apparently stained the front steps of City Hall, forcing officials to throw their hands up in defeat against the war on petty pot possession. Leaders of the NYPD’s law enforcement sideshow and torture circus recently announced that officers will begin distributing tickets in the five boroughs for marijuana-related offenses rather than resort to the violent ways the force has become infamous for over the past several years.

The New York Times recently published an article suggesting the powers that be were at the drawing board penning policy changes that would allow the NYPD to simply cite-and-release individuals for possession of marijuana rather than escort them downtown for booking. Although details were sketchy, the plan appeared to be nothing more than a political handjob from the hairy palms of Mayor Bill de Blasio and his crime-fighting crony, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, but sources were adamant the changes would eliminate an embarrassing number of pot-related arrests across the city.

Earlier last month, a highly publicized report from the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Arrest Research Project found that since taking office in January of this year, Mayor de Blasio has allowed more arrests for minor pot possession than in 2013 under the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The report indicated that despite Blasio’s campaign promise to end the NYPD’s wicked wrath against marijuana users in the Big Apple, the heavy hammer of prohibition was still in full swing, especially where Latinos and blacks were concerned – making up 86 percent of the city’s pot-related arrests.

Perhaps after reading a substantial amount of negative press surrounding this study, or after listening to a few death threats shouted at him from the city streets, Mayor de Blasio called a meeting of the mindless with Police Commissioner Bratton to formulate a plan of redemption. However, it is no secret that neither of these two men have ever supported measures to decriminalize marijuana. Even after Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth Thompson, announced earlier this year that his office would no longer prosecute minor pot offenses, the de Blasio administration publicly stated that New York City stoners would continue to see the inside of jail cells. So, why the sudden change of heart?

Apparently, there has been a great deal of heat radiating from inside the chambers of City Hall as of late, with sources claiming that officials are demanding to see a radical decrease in arrests for pot possession because the nightmare is causing “disastrous consequences” out in the field. There is speculation that trending stories, like the one involving the NYPD pistol-whipping a teenaged boy over pot, have caused a great deal of tension in the city streets, and now the revolutionary war nerve is beginning to run rampant – making it unsafe for officers to patrol downtrodden neighborhoods.

By early Monday, there were a plethora of questions surrounding the de Blasio administration’s plans for policing pot in New York City, but none of the news sources had any information about what the scheme would entail. There were rumors that the details would not be revealed until later in the week, after the mayor met with the city’s five district attorneys. But a press conference scheduled later that morning ended up being the platform used to reveal what some are calling a historical move for New York City.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters that the NYPD would no longer arrest people for possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana. Instead, under the new plan, which will take effect today, the offender will simply receive a court summons for his or her misdemeanor infraction and $100 fine. Yet, public pot consumption will still be considered an arrestable offense.

“Make no mistake; marijuana is still illegal in New York City. People smoking marijuana in public will continue to be arrested. But possession of small amounts, with certain exceptions, is not considered a high enough level of offense to merit the time and resources the department spends when arresting people, or the potential associated consequences of criminal justice involvement for the arrestees,” said Police Commissioner Bratton.

However, Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton are snake-eyed swindlers who, despite the superhero headlines in The New York DailyNews and The New York Post calling them the “Doobie Brothers” and “Joint Chiefs,” were hoping to con the entire municipality into believing that they had burned the midnight oil on many occasions in an effort to reform the drug laws in New York City. But the truth is, their “new” policy has actually been the law in New York for the past 37 years.

In 1977, New York Governor Hugh Carey put his signature on a measure called the Marijuana Reform Act, which stated that possession of up to 25 grams of weed should be handled as though it were a traffic violation, punishable with a $100 fine. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, while the state was prepared nearly 40 years ago to reform its outdated marijuana laws, the NYPD simply took it upon itself to continue along the path of total prohibition. Reports indicate that the NYPD is responsible for arresting around 600,000 people for pot possession over the course of the past 20 years – a stifling number of apprehensions for a substance that was technically decriminalized.

Nevertheless, it is best not to harp on the past, and instead make plans for the future – a wise philosophy that can be respected in relation to any aspect of life, that is unless you happen to be an officer with the NYPD. Since Police Commissioner Bratton’s announcement, reports of New York City cops jumping up and down in disapproval have began to surface, with some stories even suggesting they are threatening to stage a work slowdown (i.e. not arrest rapists and murderers because the mayor wants them to leave stoners alone).

“Some guys are really blaming de Blasio,” Ed Mullins, with the Sergeants Benevolent Association, told The New York Daily News. “The guy just doesn’t get it with this whole far-left agenda, and he’s putting [cops] in a bad spot.”

Those officers who are angry about the mayor’s decision to decriminalize and threatening not to do their jobs are halting the steps necessary to inspire a progressive cultural attitude towards cannabis. In the end, the concept is simple — police are public servants put in position to enforce the laws the voters approve.

What are your thoughts on New York City’s change in policy? Talk to us below.

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