Pot isn’t legal in New York. After this week, it might as well be.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told officers to stop arresting people carrying small amounts of pot. Instead, first-time offenders will get a court summons (basically a ticket; $100 for the first, $200 for the second) and walk away.
For possession of 25 grams (0.88 ounce) or less, there will be no arrest. No criminal charges. No fingerprinting. No mug shot. No criminal record. If an employer asks a job applicant whether he or she has been convicted or arrested, the correct answer will be no. (Violators will still need to make an appearance in court, smoking in public may still result in arrest.)
The change in New York enforcement, effective Nov. 19, follows a nationwide trend of decriminalization and legalization. After this month’s elections, four states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana and 19 states have legalized medical marijuana. When polled, more than half of U.S. residents think pot should be legal.
De Blasio and Bratton both oppose legalizing marijuana, though de Blasio said he's interested in reviewing the experience of places that have tried it.
“Don’t smoke it. Don’t carry it. Don’t use it. It’s still against the law," Bratton said at a press conference today. "I’m not giving out get-out-of-jail-for-free cards.”
He certainly isn't. Because you won't be going to jail.
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