Manhattan DA says he'll stop prosecuting pot possession

Close to 90 percent of those arrested in New York City for marijuana possession in 2017 were Black or Latino

Mayor de Blasio, facing increasing pressure over the racial gap in marijuana arrests, pledged an overhaul to reduce arrests Tuesday - as the Manhattan district attorney announced he would stop prosecuting many pot cases.

Bowing to community pressure and anger from the City Council, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday a month-long review of how the NYPD handles marijuana-arrest procedures. New York City officials and district attorneys made efforts on Tuesday to curb marijuana arrests, which primarily affect black and Hispanic residents. Vance's office said the move could reduce Manhattan marijuana prosecutions from about 5,000 per year to about 200 per year - a 96 percent reduction. He said there will be a few exceptions.

"NYPD is funneling tens of thousands of New Yorkers into the maze of the criminal justice system every year and putting people at risk of deportation, losing custody of their children, and barring them from employment and housing - all for nothing more than a small amount of marijuana".

According to a story published on Sunday by the New York Times, black people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges in the city at eight times the rate of white people over the last three years, despite almost identical usage rates.

Gonzalez said the office is also looking to expand a pilot program that declined to prosecute cases of public smoking of marijuana where a nuisance was not created.

Bronx DA Darcel Clark did not go as far, but urged cops to give summonses instead of arrests.

"The people that are going to have records are folks that live in neighborhoods that are overpoliced and targeted for enforcement", Hechinger told the New York Times.

As the idea of recreational marijuana becoming legal in NY advances, Mayor Bill de Blasio and several lawmakers took a huge step this week when it comes to arrests over the drug that unfairly targets citizens of color. "The number of arrests in that precinct, the 76th Precinct, were 246 arrests".

"Just take one police precinct-the 76th police precinct, Red Hook in Brooklyn-the number of 311 and 911 calls that came in complaining in 2017 were 88 calls", Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. The neighborhoods with high numbers of calls and high numbers of arrests do not match up.

"We must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement", de Blasio said at a conference of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. The mayor was not specific on details of the plan.

But O'Neill added that officers do not target "any people of color who have no nexus to violence. We need an honest assessment about why they exist, and balance it in the context of the public safety needs of all communities". "The NYPD has no interest in arresting New Yorkers for marijuana offenses when those arrests have no impact on public safety".

"Now the grandchild of stop-and-frisk is marijuana arrests based on race", Sharpton said. The first from City Comptroller Scott Stringer said that legalizing marijuana could bring the state $3.1 billion, including $1.1 billion for the city.

On the state level, Gov. Andrew Cuomo commissioned a study on legalization earlier this year.

"We have to do better, there's no question about it", he said. However, these days it's becoming legal in some states.

Sharpton said he disagreed with the use of the term "reparations", but agreed with the overall point. We've heard legislators who are considering it.

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