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Marijuana prosecutions plummet in parts of NYC after policy shifts

Posted at 4:30 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-01 16:30:32-04

NEW YORK — Marijuana prosecutions have plunged in two of New York City’s five boroughs as their district attorneys stopped pursuing most pot cases and police changed their approach to marijuana enforcement.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. released statistics Thursday showing marijuana arraignments dropped about 87 percent over the last three months. Last month, there were 28 pot arraignments, compared to 465 in October 2017.

Vance and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez decided this summer not to prosecute most new misdemeanor pot possession and smoking cases, saying they did little for public safety. Meanwhile, the police department furthered a shift toward issuing tickets instead of making arrests in most low-level marijuana cases.

Gonzalez’s office says it’s had under a dozen marijuana cases in recent months’ caseloads, compared to 349 in January.