A few months ago New York City officials announced that they would no longer prosecute low-level crimes for marijuana use or possession. And now that day has arrived.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced that starting today, he will no longer prosecute cases involving marijuana possession or use. The only exceptions would be cases where an individual is found with cannabis packaged in a way to suggest that they were going to sell it illegally or if the person was being investigated for a different serious offense. With the new policy, Vance expects marijuana possession prosecutions will drop about 96 percent, from over 5,000 cases per year to less than 200.
In making this announcement, Vance said he asks his staff to make sure the justice system is equal and fair for all, and that eliminating these marijuana prosecutions is a step in that direction. Vance then advocated for the state of New York to legalize recreational marijuana.
“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,” Vance said.
Vance also said his office is working with public defenders and other criminal justice organizations to help seal past marijuana convictions and expunge them from the records.
(h/t High Times)