Mayor Bill de Blasio is telling the NYPD to stop arresting pot smokers and to start preparing the Big Apple for weed legalization.
Long opposed legal recreational weed, de Blasio now says he thinks it’s inevitable.
To that end, the mayor is creating a special task force to lay the groundwork, which involves how cops will deal with public smoking, zoning for pot dispensaries, and public health campaigns about marijuana.
The policy change is part of a 30-day review the mayor announced last week when he addressed racial disparity in marijuana arrests.
De Blasio says he’s not throwing his support behind legalization, but rather facing reality and getting the city ready.
"With marijuana legalization likely to occur in our state in the near future, it is critical our city plans for the public safety, health and financial consequences involved," he said, per the New York Daily News.
"While I still have real concerns we must work through, it isn't difficult to see where this is headed, and any responsible policymaker must prepare for that eventuality. My focus now will be helping to craft the critical regulatory framework that must come before legalization is realized."
Many say that Mayor de Blasio is making this move now because New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, is likely to express support for legal weed as he faces a gubernatorial election challenge from Cynthia Nixon of “Sex and the City” fame who endorses legalization.
Many New York politicians have jumped on the legalization bandwagon recently, especially after a damning report about the NYPD’s racist arrest policies.
Research revealed that black and brown New Yorkers faced marijuana arrests at rates nearly 10 times those of whites, despite early promises from Mayor de Blasio to close the racial disparity.
In 2017, people of color made up a staggering 86% of all marijuana arrests in in New York City.
No one deserves to be re-elected with those racist statistics connected to their administration.