Although weed has been decriminalized in New York state since the late 1970s, the NYPD exploited the law so badly that the City had to take steps to correct the policy. On Monday, at 1 Police Plaza, Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the plan.
Here’s what you need to know: It will take effect November 19. In a major change from the existing law, first time offenders caught carrying 25 grams or less — regardless of whether it’s in public view or not — will be issued a summons rather than an arrest. And of course, the weed will be confiscated. The fine is up to $100 for the first offense and up to $250 for the second offense. However, burning weed in public is still very much illegal and anyone caught possessing it, must be able to produce ID or face arrest.
To demonstrate what 25 grams of weed looks like, Bratton held up a ziplock bag full of oregano that resembled a pile of terrible shake and is no way representative of today’s fluffy chronic.
For those wondering if this will lead to the NYPD pushing for legalization, the answer is probably not. “I’m not in favor of legalization under any circumstances,” said Bratton.
Bratton said that if people in this city want to use and smoke weed without the threat of law enforcement, then they should go to the legislature and have it legalized (not that he endorses legalization).
“One way to avoid a summons?” Bratton said. “Don’t do it, don’t smoke it, don’t use it, that simple. I’m not giving Get-Out-Of-Jail Free cards…Obey the law and then you won’t have to deal with this at all.”
New York City councilman Mark Levine, however, hopes otherwise:
NYC has made huge move on marijuana reform by ending arrests for low-level offenses. Now State must end prohibition and instead tax/regulate
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) November 10, 2014