Marijuana Legalization

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Manhattan DA Tosses Out 3,000 Low-Level Marijuana Cases

September 12, 2018 - 11:08 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Roughly 3,000 low-level marijuana cases were throw out Wednesday morning, at the request of Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. successfully asked a court in the borough to erased 3,042 warrants for those who missed court dates in marijuana possession cases.

Some of the cases dated back multiple decades, with some dating back to the 1970’s.

The move comes after Vance said the enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionately impacted men and women of color.

“The offence of the consequence is no longer proportionate to the violation of smoking marijuana,” Vance said in a Manhattan courtroom. “If you are found smoking a marijuana cigarette, you can be arrested, put in cuffs and held in jail for 24 hours. The offense does not, in our opinion, justify that level of enforcement.”

He added that prosecutors were now “trying to even out racial disparity and rationalize and right-size our criminal justice efforts.”

Last week, a similar plan was announced in Brooklyn to dispose of over 10,000 cases.

Vance and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez recently decided to stop prosecuting most misdemeanor pot possession and smoking cases.

The city has been recently shifting away from arresting and prosecuting many people for small-time pot offenses.