New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in a speech on Thursday that he is eliminating mandatory jail time for people arrested with small amounts of marijuana. Arrests for marijuana possession have skyrocketed since he took office and the mayor has made it plain that he does not support marijuana legalization.
However, as Think Progress reported the mayor is re-classifying pot possession as a violation rather than a misdemeanor, meaning that police will no longer be automatically hauling people caught with pot off to a night in jail.
“(NYC Police) Commissioner (Ray) Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor and we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But we won’t wait for that to happen,” said Bloomberg in the speech.
“Right now, those arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana are often held in custody overnight,” he contined. “We’re changing that. Effective next month, anyone presenting an ID and clearing a warrant check will be released directly from the precinct with a desk appearance ticket to return to court. It’s consistent with the law, it’s the right thing to do and it will allow us to target police resources where they’re needed most.”