Manhattan DA Cy Vance

Richard Drew/Pool/Sipa Press/cydapoolsipa.003/1108232301

Marijuana Arrests Are A Waste Of Resources, DA Vance Says

May 16, 2018 - 4:46 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The NYPD is promising to change its marijuana enforcement policy next month, and along with the Brooklyn District Attorney, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has announced that he has stopped prosecuting cases of marijuana possession and smoking in public.

Vance made the announcement on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he explained why.

Vance said last year in Manhattan alone, there were 5,000 cases where people were arrested for, as he put it, holding a lit marijuana cigarette in public.

“And those cases come into our criminal justice system and have to be processed, and then take up the time of a judge, a defense counsel, a prosecutor, administrative resources, and quite honestly, there are no sanctions imposed as a consequence of the case coming in,” Vance said.

The Manhattan DA said there is no jail time or rehabilitation involved.

“So we are arresting individuals who are predominantly black or brown – and a high percentage black or brown – who are coming into a system and then pushed out the back end with nothing good coming of it,” Vance said.

Vance said the DA’s office is not trying to encourage people to smoke marijuana. But he said as long as it is illegal, his office would treat it proportionally rather than bringing it into the criminal justice system.