In November, with the police commissioner by his side, the mayor announced a new set of guidelines based on an old set of laws governing the possession of small amounts of weed — so far, the strategy is working. According to the New York Times, it has lead to a sharp reduction in the number of people cited for cannabis offenses and “already resulted in a 61.2 percent decline in arrests in its first two full weeks,” which should bring some relief to the city’s coffers and strained legal justice system. In 2011, the AP reported that “one of every seven cases that turn up in criminal courts” were for low-level possession of pot.

The shift in policy came amidst a firestorm of criticism against the NYPD for targeting minorities, improperly conducting stop-and-frisk searches, and skirting the state law that decriminalized weed possession 37 years ago.

(Original photo: Don Goofy)