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New Marijuana Policy Goes Into Effect In NYC On Saturday

September 01, 2018 - 11:22 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- New York City is changing its policy on marijuana.

Beginning Saturday, anyone in the city caught with the drug will only face a $100 ticket instead of being arrested.

"We're committed to reducing unnecessary arrests. We're committed to reducing disparity,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a conference Thursday.

The mayor said he could not believe that 85 percent of people arrested for pot were black or Hispanic. He explained the percentage clearly revealed the arrests were due to racial bias and enacted the change to the policy.

"We're going to see a humongous drop in people in communities of color being arrested for marijuana,” de Blasio said.

Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison estimated 10,000 fewer arrests and a lot less paperwork. However, he noted that people should not assume that can sit on their stoops and smoke freely.

People can still receive a summons along with the fine. Those who have a warrant, are violent offenders or on parole can still be arrested if caught smoking marijuana.

The drug is still illegal under federal law, despite nine states and the District of Columbia allowing the recreational use of it.