New York’s borough of Manhattan has made a big move this week.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced a new policy on Tuesday, which will end the prosecution of marijuana possession and smoking in the city.
There is one exception however and that’s if the drug is being sold or if it poses a significant threat.
According to Mr. Vance’s office, the new policy could help decrease marijuana prosecutions by as much as 96%.
“Every day I ask our prosecutors to keep Manhattan safe and make our justice system more equal and fair,” Mr Vance stated. “The needless criminalisation of pot smoking frustrates this core mission, so we are removing ourselves from the equation”.
Mr. Vance continued to say that research performed by the district attorney’s office found that New Yorkers “consume a large amount of marijuana”, and that the criminal justice system put in place to police and deter that consumption disproportionately results in arrests of minorities.
“Our research has found virtually no public safety rationale for the ongoing arrest and prosecution of marijuana smoking and no moral justification for the intolerable racial disparities that underlie enforcement,” said Vance.