NY MAG gives the REAL DEAL on NYC’s New ’25 Grams Marijuana’ Law

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Before my NYC peeps light up some sour in celebration, please take serious note that if you get caught smoking you will still get arrested. NY Mag puts everything in perspective below:

While Bratton said that the new policy applies to weed that is in open view (a big shift), it does not apply to weed that is being burned. People caught smoking weed will continue to be arrested. (It’s also still probably not a great idea to wave your bag around in public, regardless of its size.) Pot-possessors with outstanding warrants will be taken into custody, as will people who can’t show ID. “An officer ultimately has to make the judgment on the scene,” said de Blasio, suggesting that people whom the cops deem suspicious or uncooperative might also be subject to arrest.

On Monday afternoon, NYPD chief Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio announced that the police will be taking a new approach to the enforcement of New York’s marijuana laws. Starting on November 19, people caught with up to 25 grams of weed in New York City “may be eligible” for a ticket, instead of being arrested, finger-printed, and potentially forced to sit in jail for hours before being arraigned. This sounds good, but what does it actually mean? Let us explain!

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Isn’t marijuana already decriminalized in New York?

Sort of, but it doesn’t seem that way (especially if you are black or Latino). The 1977 Marijuana Reform Act says that possession of up to 25 grams of concealed weed should only result in a ticket. However, the NYPD has long skirted that rule by forcing people to bring their pot into “open view” by demanding that they, say, empty their pockets. Once the marijuana is exposed, its owner is subject to arrest. Stop-and-frisk — which, as you may know, was disproportionately applied to men of color in the city’s poorer neighborhoods — made full use of that loophole.

I’m American, so I don’t understand the metric system. How much pot is 25 grams of pot?

25 grams is equal to .88 of an ounce, so it’s a decent amount of pot (about $300-worth). “To give you a sense of what 25 grams of marijuana would look like, that’s about it,” Bratton said as he held up an almost-full, standard size Ziplock bag of what he was sure to point out was oregano. “All I can think of right now is pizza, because I usually like oregano on my pizza,” he added.

Under the new policy, what will happen to a person caught with, say, 24 grams of pot?

The cops will take the pot. In exchange, they’ll give the pot’s owner a fine of around $100 (for a first offense) and an order to appear in court later. It shouldn’t result in a criminal record.

There are exceptions to this, right?

While Bratton said that the new policy applies to weed that is in open view (a big shift), it does not apply to weed that is being burned. People caught smoking weed will continue to be arrested. (It’s also still probably not a great idea to wave your bag around in public, regardless of its size.) Pot-possessors with outstanding warrants will be taken into custody, as will people who can’t show ID. “An officer ultimately has to make the judgment on the scene,” said de Blasio, suggesting that people whom the cops deem suspicious or uncooperative might also be subject to arrest.

Who stands to benefit from this?

Anyone walking around New York City with a small about of weed, in theory. But the policy change will be most profoundly felt in New York’s black and Latino communities, where 86 percent of low-level marijuana arrests take place, despite the fact that white people buy and smoke pot at roughly the same rate as anybody else. During some years of the Bloomberg administration, as many as 50,000 people were arrested over small amounts of marijuana. Those arrests have decreased recently, but there have still been 24,000 so far this year.

Getting arrested is expensive and, as de Blasio noted, a criminal record can affect a person’s ability to get a student loan, a job, or an apartment. The new rule is intended to prevent lives from being ruined because someone did something that is commonplace in the United States (smoke pot). De Blasio also pointed out that the NYPD can now devote more time and resources to serious crimes.

FULL STORY HERE…

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