By Sonia Moghe and Susannah Cullinane
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has told top brass at the city’s police department to stop arresting people who are caught smoking marijuana in public, according to a City Hall aide.
Currently, smoking in public can lead to arrest, while possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a summons.
This weekend, the mayor told the NYPD to issue summonses for smoking pot in public, instead of making arrests.
The NYPD has already begun a working group to evaluate its marijuana enforcement procedures and present its recommendations within 30 days, at the mayor’s request. The mayor made it clear this weekend that ending public marijuana smoking arrests is one of the changes he wants.
Any changes to NYPD’s policy on smoking in public would not take effect until the end of the summer.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Phil Walzak told CNN that the 30-day working group is already underway, and that the issue is “certainly part of that review.”
“The working group is reviewing possession and public smoking of marijuana to ensure enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness and trust, while also promoting public safety and addressing community concerns,” Walzak said.