New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has told top police officials to stop arresting people using marijuana in public. The decision comes soon after Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced that prosecution of low-level marijuana offenses in Manhattan will stop on August 1, 2018.
Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is punishable with only a ticket, but public use can result in an arrest, CNN reports. But the NYPD has been instructed to simply issue a summons rather than make an arrest.
An NYPD working group has already started its evaluation of marijuana enforcement protocols and is expected to release a recommendation within the next month, per the mayor’s request. If the NYPD changes its policies, they would go into effect later this summer.
The Deputy Commissioner of Public Information for the NYPD, Phil Walzak, said that the one of the working group’s issues being reviewed is public consumption. He said, “The working group is reviewing possession and public smoking of marijuana to ensure enforcement is consistent with the values and fairness and trust, while also promoting public safety and addressing community concerns.”