The Manhattan District Attorney’s office starting Wednesday will stop to prosecute most cases for marijuana offenses.
The change that was pledged earlier this year but implementation began Wednesday to reduce the number of marijuana prosecutions by 96 percent.
It was first promised by District Attorney Cy Vance Jr, whose office was witnessing 5,500 marijuana cases last year.
Vance explained that the New York Police Department will have to show why they believe the individual poses a threat.
“The decision to prosecute will have to be reviewed by a supervisor in our complaint room.”
He further explained by saying that “there are areas where danger is also a nuisance smoking next to young children who are getting out of school.”Also, New Yorkers will still be prosecuted for marijuana possession if they were suspected of selling cannabis.
In addition to that, carrying more than 10 individual bags or more or in cases where more information is provided by the police could cause a person to be prosecuted.
“where there is additional information from the NYPD or from our Office which demonstrates that the individual otherwise poses a significant threat to public safety.”
From September, the NYPD will only be issuing summonses and not make arrests for marijuana offenses. The only exception will be if the individual is on parole or probation, have an open warrant, a violent criminal history or fail to show identification.
Vance said if an individual is smoking marijuana or traveling with cannabis, intelligence is needed.
The staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan, Eliza Orlins, said the new policy is a huge step forward.