Via press release:
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today released the D.A.’s Office’s new policy to decline to prosecute marijuana possession and smoking cases, effective tomorrow, August 1. The policy, which is included below, is expected to reduce Manhattan marijuana prosecutions from approximately 5,000 per year to fewer than 200 per year, a 96% reduction.
“Every day I ask our prosecutors to keep Manhattan safe and make our justice system more equal and fair,” said District Attorney Vance. “The needless criminalization of pot smoking frustrates this core mission, so we are removing ourselves from the equation. Our research has found virtually no public safety rationale for the ongoing arrest and prosecution of marijuana smoking, and no moral justification for the intolerable racial disparities that underlie enforcement. Tomorrow, our Office will exit a system wherein smoking a joint can ruin your job, your college application, or your immigration status, but our advocacy will continue. I urge New York lawmakers to legalize and regulate marijuana once and for all.”
The D.A.’s new “decline to prosecute” policy was distributed last week to Manhattan Assistant D.A.s, as well as to the New York City Police Department, Office of Court Administration, and public defense organizations.