NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Starting Next Month, No Jail for Marijuana Possession

Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new marijuana policy for the city during his State of the City address.

Mayor Bloomberg, who previously stood with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his call for fixing New York’s marijuana laws, reiterated that support, but said his city won’t wait for Albany on this issue.

But we know that there’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record. Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor and we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But we won’t wait for that to happen.

Right now, those arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana are often held in custody overnight. We’re changing that. Effective next month, anyone presenting an ID and clearing a warrant check will be released directly from the precinct with a desk appearance ticket to return to court. It’s consistent with the law, it’s the right thing to do and it will allow us to target police resources where they’re needed most.

-Mayor Bloomberg

Under current law, possession of marijuana for personal use in private is punishable by a ticket, but possession of marijuana open to public view or being burnt in public is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 with a maximum sentence of 90 days.

This initiative could go a long way towards correcting the draconic policy currently in place in the city, which disproportionately effects people of color and costs taxpayers about 75 million dollars a year in enforcement and prosecution costs. New York City is the marijuana arrest capitol of the world, with 50,684 arrests for marijuana offenses in 2011 alone, hopefully this action from the mayor will encourage his fellow New Yorkers in Albany to cease the arrest of marijuana consumers across the state.

You can view the full text of Mayor Bloomberg’s speech here.

43 thoughts

  1. Too bad we cannot read the things in the letter ( it’s too light in places ) but i get the point . The problem i have with this is that it’s 100 years too late and marijuana consumers are still being punished & those who engage in criminal and reckless behavior while intoxicated from alcohol will generally get off without penalties .

  2. This is fantastic news! & I guess he really does care, since he’s doing this, yet you can’t buy a 20oz Coca~Cola in NYC!!! LOL!!!

  3. Well, in that case I’m looking forward to private clubs for cannabis opening up where you can bring your own and smoke your own. It’s not in public, and if the clubs don’t advertise it’ll be quite a while before the cops find out. And then, they’ll have to get search warrant and all that shit to raid the place, only to have everyone rounded off get off with a fine.

    Once the camel’s nose is in the tent, Governor Cuomo and Albany may as well legalize.

  4. He’s trying to reduce violent crime. Weed doesn’t kill people. Guns kill 30 – 50 people per day in US.

    Good job Mayor Bloomberg!

  5. THIS IS TRUE ABOUT THE ALCOHOL THAY GET A SLAP ON THE HANDS NO CUFFS AND THAY DO NOT GO DIRECLIY TO JAIL THAY GET A TICKET AND TOLD DON’T DRIVE BUT 2 TO 3 HOURS LATER THERE BEING PULLED OVER AGAIN ONLY THIS TIME THAY HAVE HAD AN ACSADENT AND THEN THAY MIGHT HAVE TO GO SLEEP IT OFF IN THE TANK THEN THERE OUT THE NEXT DAY AND DRINKING AGAIN AND HOW MENY TIMES DO THAY HAVE TO GET CAUGHT BEFOR THERE IN PRIZON OR JAIL THAY DON’T BECAUSE THAY KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT SMOKE A JOINT GUESS WHAT YOUR IN PRIZON FOR YEARS OR GROW IT. BUT DRUNKS KILL I NOW I LOST MY AUNT AND NOTHING WAS DONE
    BUT GOD FORBIB IF WE WHAT TO SMOKE A JOINT OR BUY IT OR GROW IT WE SIT IN JAIL OR PRIZON AND THE LAW LETS ALCOHOLS GO FREE AND THAY KILL MORE THEN ANYONE

  6. I will believe this liar when I can walk into a store and buy any size soft drink. His cranial rectal inversion therapy is definitly working.

  7. Oh how generous, we don’t have to go to jail for doing something perfectly harmless and beneficial to society- we only have to pay an extortion fine. Isn’t that nice of them?

  8. “…we know that there’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record.”

    Criminal records mean relegating people to lives of unemployment or underemployment, swelling the welfare roles. Of course people can always get jobs as dealers for kingpins.

    Here’s one more politician finally willing to stop the madness.

  9. Tim, Bloomberg isn’t running for reelection. This is well known. He’s just doing what is right. Thanks for showing your bias.

  10. Hey, if you can get Bloomberg on board with an issue you can make a huge impact. He’s rich, well connected, generally respected and soon won’t have another election in the rest of his future.

  11. I wonder if “NYPD cop beaten so severely by marijuana-carrying suspect, she might not be able to return to job” had a lot to do with it.

  12. Are you sure he won’t buy a forth term like a third term??

    This is better than nothing I guess, sucks that you can’t buy a soda though or guns

  13. THANK YOU MIKE,ARRESTING PEOPLE IN THE BRONX. WHICH IS PROBABLY THE HIGHEST IS EXTREMELY UNNECESSARY WHEN THE LADY AROUND THE CORNER IS GETTING ROBBED,THE GIRL DOWN THE BLOCK IS BEING RAPED OR ABUSED,TWO PEOPLE GOT SHOT WHILE THE OFFICER WAS TAKING THE WEED CRIME LIKE A GUN CHARGE AND TO JUST GET A COLLAR AND OVERTIME THEY SEND YOU THROUGH THE SYSTEM INSTEAD OF A D.A.T.. MEANWHILE SERIOUS CRIMES ARE TAKING PLACE. FIGHT CRIME OFFICER’S PEOPLE WHO SMOKE ARE THE COOLEST NOT A DANGER. NOBODY ROBS OR KILLS FOR WEED.

  14. Ending jail time is progress. I guess. Big Gulp Mike is continuing his hypocrisy. ‘You bet I inhaled and I enjoyed it!’ I guess all those disgustingly racial stop and frisk search convictions will remain for the poor people suckered into it.

    Oh yeah, he doesn’t support legalization. Still beholden to the police and big conservative money, it appears.

    Bongberg has done too little, too late and is trying to take credit for doing ending a program he endorsed. Sleezy if you ask me.

  15. This is just a Band aid on the problem. Where will people go to get their small amounts of POT? Vicinity of Gracie Mansion NO…The neighborhoods of the poor and disenfranchised of our city. So rest assured that the crime rate will remain the same or grow in these neighborhoods. We have a multimillion dollor industry that we have placed in the hands of the Thugs of our City. The Thugs will take their profits and purchase the Guns that Bloomberg & Cuomo claim they want to protect us from. We know the police can’t protect the weed dealers, so they dealers will protect themselves, shoot up our kids in the school yards & parks on purpose or by accident even though the Schools & The Parks are Gun & Drug free zones. Unfortunately the Thugs don’t give a fuck, just the law abiding people, pot smokers or not will follow these laws. I mean I’m no fucking rocket scientist but if we legalize pot, tax it and make it a legitimate business then maybe we can place metal detectors and security cameras in all our schools which will be far more effective than making laws the thugs could give a shit less about.
    Oh, it can free up the Police from Giving these desk appearance tickets which take up way to much time to process any fucking way, think about this your walking down the street and you or your loved one is being victimized by a Predator of this city and the police could not respond in a timely fashion not because they didn’t want to, but because They were busy fucking around with the Potheads, I know our city is what it is because of the Brave Men & Woman who keep guard of it (NYPD). Ask yourself this if the Police didn’t give a fuck would NYC be the safest city in the country?
    I got another stupid idea, NYC is the #1 Terrorist target how about using the money generated from pot sales to fight this war on terror? We could do so much with the revenue its not funny. I haven’t even addressed the increase in Tourism by all of this, I can go on and on, im no fucking Politian but how the fuck are we going to make are city better by creating a huge money maker for criminals. STOP THE FUCKING BULLSHIT GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS & END PROHIBITION NOW !!!!!!
    I can’t continue anymore I need a Phatty….

  16. Don’t give a damn…..its nice he did this….its cool…but im still gonna be bothered by police…handcuffed….thrown into a squad or undercover taxi car….driven to bookings where after hours in a holding cell im forced to show up at a later, probably even more inconvenient date to pay a hefty fine. But hey…That’s how you solve NYC’s deficit issue!!!!…the time and money you waste in putting people in bookings you make up for by forcing them to pay money to the city!…now instead of the city paying for 51,000 people to be locked up…..you’ll have 51,000 people paying the city!!!!….

    Bullshit…still not fuccin satisfied….

  17. Notice he says released from the precinct with a desk appearance ticket. This doesn’t change much at all. You’re still getting cuffed, and you’re still going to the police station. You’ll still be sitting for hours getting processed with a bunch of real criminals and scumbags. This just does not go far enough. They should write you the damn UPM on the street if they want and send you on your way.

  18. Someone please wake me up when it is at least Medically Legal in PA or MO…My butt will be living in which ever comes first!!

  19. Another story about a Cuomo or Bloomberg or Soros or Obama at least making a small step in the right directionm and another page full of posts biting his hand. “not enough” ” He’s taking our guns.” ” We want want the Republicans to do this for us” Well their not going to, get over it.
    Those small goverment, individual rights Republicans have done sooooo much for us.
    Nixon – Created the DEA, Reagan – Manditory drug testing, Manditory Minimum sentances, Asset forfiture, George the 1st, No knock SWAT raids, George the 2nd, – Expanded all of the above, after all, if people didn’t buy marijuana my business partners the bin Ladens wouldn;t have kamikazeed planes into the trade center, when you buy weed you support Terrorism. Then we wonder why we get Someone like Clinton, who sees the Republican drug war and raises you one. Obama tried to play ball on Medical in Californiam, what did I see on these posts, “It’s not enough” ” Shut down White house.org” “Obumer” ” Yes we Cannibus”.

    And worse than than the DEA, Worse than making you pee, Worse than confiscating your car because we found a seed in it, worse than sending a death squade to your housse in the middle of the night to break down your doors, shoot your dog, or grandmother, or child before you flush 50 pounds of leaves down the toillet (not as easy as it sounds). Worse than taking your children away.
    All these small goverment, individual liberty, states rights, inconsitancies pale when compared to the worst crime against humanity ever committed. I talking of course about the when he, he, sob, “he laughed at us”.\
    The drug war Nixon’s fault, not Reagan’s fault, it’s the liberal media’s fault. It our fault.

  20. Mayor Bloomberg is trying to do what he thinks is right. I applaud this but at the same time disagree with what he thinks is right. It is WRONG to arrest and fine someone for doing something that should be legal for an adult to use – PERIOD!

    This is another babystep in the right direction but these babysteps are getting us there (legalization and regulation) at a snails pace…

  21. this is nothing new.in new york you will generaly recieve a ticket for under 24 grams. sometimes they do take you to the station, but you are promptly released after being ticketed and searched for warrents. bloomburg is just doing this to ,not have to think or talk about legalization. in his eyes hes done somthing for the canna-comunity but any stoner with half a brain knows NY states weed laws…this is NOT A NEW LAW! LEGALIZE AND STOP THE LEGAL-LIES!

  22. hey mark the one that says not enough why don’t you do something instead of saying not enough. use your head and wrght something else if you can.say more about what you what to see happen.

  23. “Bloomberg-You can keep your weed, but I’m still coming for your guns!”

    haha, don’t forget the 24oz Big
    Gulps and that salt shaker too.

    Ironic that you can’t wash down your toke with a drink of your choice by Bloomberg’s logic is it not?

    That said as others (alphakroniq1) have pointed out, this is just a feel-good move, and we should take it. While you certainly can be processed and ticketed today and after – practically not many in the NYPD will hassle you like that for a little weed so long as your not flaunting it or giving them another reason to hassle you. I got pulled over last year in the bronx with a quarter oz on me, they didn’t care about it at all, they said they were interested in coke,pills, and weapons, sent me on my way (with my weed) after a couple minutes and running my info.

  24. The prohibition movement are now seemingly focusing on being anti-guns. I’m sure they are getting new recruits on that issue.
    I’ve wonder what kind of society were people will not have pot, guns, private property, civil rights, human rights, and also, no longer have the use of voting? Is there such a society? Is it utopia? A paradise for prohibitionist? I guess it’s time to follow the Judas sheep.

  25. First of all, The Mayor could publicly request to make “marijuana the lowest priority of NYPD”. Secondly, the law already states that “possession”, not open to public view, is decriminalized. The ticket needs to written at the scene of the “non-crime”. The actual law would still not be followed if people are being brought to the police station. To congratulate this is ridiculous.

    What is really going on is cultural oppression that Bloomberg is complicit in. Blaming Albany, for NYC not being a socially progressive city government, is a farce. The Mayor of NYC can still do a lot to make NYC marijuana friendly. The Mayor needs to approve, attend and publically support marijuana related events in NYC to celebrate NYC as a haven of cultural diversity. The New York State Mayor of Ithaca has stated support to make marijuana a low police priority, and that sort of action is helpful to making people feel welcome. NYC having a public image of desiring marijuana liberation would make it much harder for Albany to hold off on inevitable law changes.

  26. I agree with More then crumbs. Where I live if I get caught with a 1/4 I’d get a ticket and sent on my way. I would NOT be arrested and brought into the police station. Saying that he won’t wait for Albany is bullshit. Taking people to the station is doing WAY more then what a cop would do in the rest of the state. The City is still ass backwards with this! This is nothing to congratulate! A minor pot offense should be written like a moving violation and taken care of at the scene!

    If more local politicians want to change the laws in a better way then what the state is doing, then yes, make pot the lowest priority. Tell all your officers to just ignore anyone with small amounts. Don’t even fine them! Pay attention to the real problems in our state/cities.

  27. Anybody who thinks there should be any negative legal consequences to toking/possessing/growing/selling ganja needs to get a life and get out of our business. Only total legalization is acceptable. Perhaps the only way is to expose the lies and corruption keeping it in a illicit legal status.

  28. Has any police officer been the subjected to any form a discipline for breaking these laws? If the answer is “No”, then this Asshole Mayor hasn’t done anything. You will not see me spending any money in NY.

  29. Yes only one more step to legalizing it, but I don’t see how smoking on your own property is considered public. Yes, you can hold small amounts, but watch out for what and where the police consider public to be and in what situation your in if the police catch you with it!! There is ALWAYS a CATCH to a GOOD THING!!! so don;t pat any backs just yet!!!!

  30. Legalize the “PLANT”. It helps with my depression and PTSD from war. Not only this but it has “completely fixed my asthma and I no longer have to use dangerous chemicals for my depression and asthma.. Maby thats why they dont want to legalize it… Just to make us suffer.

  31. weed should be legal and cops should be beaten up if there is a good reason Q.Q probably not the right place but I just watched a dog get shot when it was on a leash on the owners propty cops are bad ppl that get away with to much

  32. This policy is not a farce. I was arrested for smoking in public and was in custody for 2 hours and received a desk apperance ticket. The charges were dropped and it taught me a lesson. Its a win win.

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