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Manhattan DA will stop prosecuting most marijuana-related cases

August 01, 2018 - 8:23 am
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The Manhattan District Attorney’s office says it will no longer prosecute marijuana possession or smoking cases beginning Wednesday.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the policy in May after a report from his office showed that black and Hispanic people were arrested more often than white people for marijuana-related crimes.

“Every day I ask our prosecutors to keep Manhattan safe and make our justice system more equal and fair,” Vance said in a statement. “The needless criminalization of pot smoking frustrates this core mission, so we are removing ourselves from this equation.”

The two exceptions to the policy will be cases against those who possessed 10 or more bags of marijuana for sale and those who demonstrated a public safety threat, the office announced.

In addition to the new policy, Vance has also been working to have marijuana legalized at the state level. He also works with advocacy groups to seal past marijuana conviction records.

Vance said that the “needless criminalization of pot smoking” contributes to an unfair justice system that targets minorities.