Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
According to a Daily News story this week, Mayor de Blasio has already told Police Commissioner O’Neill and the NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking marijuana in public.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Responding to an email sent by a group of borough elected officials calling for the end to all prosecutions of low-level marijuana offenses, including individuals caught smoking in public, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Tuesday insisted on a more cautious wait-and-see approach before deciding to summarily stop all such collars and cases.
City Councilmen I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), and Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), along with State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens), U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and other borough representatives recently sent a letter to Brown urging that his office “conform to reality,” which reflects the public’s tolerant attitude towards recreational marijuana use.
“A series of damning reports have revealed extreme racial disparities between communities of color and more affluent neighborhoods populated by whites in both the number of arrests and summonses issued for minor possession and public smoking,” the lawmakers added.
On Tuesday, Brown released his response to the letter. In it he noted that last week Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill formed a 30-Day Working Group to review the NYPD’s enforcement practices and policies with respect to marijuana offenses. Additionally, Brown said that his office completed its own preliminary study, which revealed that over 97 percent of the public smoking cases did not result in a criminal conviction.
“In my view, the wisest course for all of us at this point is to allow the police commissioner’s Working Group to do its job,” Brown said. “I am confident that the resulting report will help shape our determination of what is best for our city.”
In other marijuana-related developments this week a New York Daily News story indicated that Mayor Bill de Blasio has told the NYPD to end all arrests for toking in public.