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De Blasio Wants Police To Stop Arresting Pot Smokers

May 21, 2018 - 8:58 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- While marijuana remains illegal in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio says he wants the NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking pot in public and instead hand out summonses.
 
In a statement released Sunday, de Blasio said the city must plan for the eventual reality of marijuana legalization and the "public safety, health and financial consequences involved.''

The change is part of a 30 day review the mayor announced last week to address the racial disparity in marijuana arrests. Research shows blacks and whites smoke pot at the same rate, but 86 percent arrested in the city are black or Latino.

But de Blasio still has concerns about legalization, which he spoke about on Friday on WNYC.

"You will have giant corporations in a style of the tobacco companies taking this opportunity and running with it and with the goal of trying to hook as many young people as possible on marijuana for the profit of those companies," de Blasio said. 

The mayor concedes the day of legalization in New York is on the horizon and City Hall is a step forward. They've put together a task force to address issues surrounding it like zoning laws for dispensaries and what type of public health campaigns the city should run.

Last week, both the Manhattan and Brooklyn district attorneys said they would not prosecute possession and smoking cases.

The mayor does not endorse legalization but said the city should be ready for the day it is.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)