Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Bill Bratton are reportedly ready to announce a big change in the way the NYPD deals with low-level pot arrests. Police officers will begin issuing tickets for pot possession rather than making an arrest, according to a report published by the New York Times on Sunday. The change would mean anyone found in possession of a small amount of pot would given a notice to show up in court, rather than be put in handcuffs and hauled down to the station, where they would be have to be fingerprinted and have a mugshot taken.
It sounds like a step in the right direction, but advocates and officials are voicing concerns about the proposed changes.
“Its certainly an interesting development, and on the one hand, this could be really good if they follow through with it,” says Gabriel Sayegh, director of the New York State office of the Drug Policy Alliance, tells the Village Voice. It could potentially save tens of thousands of New Yorkers every year from getting swept into the criminal justice system, but he adds, “There are real questions about how it will be implemented.”
More at the Runnin’ Scared blog.