Several New Yorkers can breath a sigh of relief today after the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance dropped more than 3,000 open marijuana smoking and possession cases dating back over forty years.
According to a Reuters report, Vance said that the effort would help serve justice and address the racial disparities in marijuana prosecution.
"By vacating these warrants, we are preventing unnecessary future interactions with the criminal justice system," he said.
The decision applies only to misdemeanor and violation cases in which a warrant was issued after a defendant failed to appear in court. It does not, however, apply to convictions or more serious marijuana-related charges.
This move comes after Vance’s announcement earlier this year that his office would no longer be prosecuting smoking and possession cases.
This action is very much in line with the nationwide trend among state governments to reduce the enforcement of cannabis-related offences, or to legalize the recreational use of the substance. Hopefully it is a first step towards ending unfair judicial practice against misdemeanor drug offenders.