Coinciding with New York’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana earlier this week, a memorandum has been spread around the New York Police Department advising officers not to arrest citizens for the possession or consumption of cannabis in public places.
Reported on by CNN on Thursday, the memo states that the consumption of cannabis in public places such as on sidewalks and in front of stores “is not a basis for an approach, stop, summons, arrest or search.”
This memo arrived with New York’s recent legalization after years of controversy related to the NYPD’s “Stop-and-Frisk” policy, which is mired in racial profiling and often connected to minor possession (less than an ounce) of marijuana.
Cannabis Consumption in Vehicles Still a Grey Area
NYPD Officers have also been given new instructions in regards to cannabis aroma coming from vehicles.
According to the memorandum, the smell of cannabis alone is not enough to establish “probable cause of a crime to search a vehicle.” Officers are now not allowed to search the trunk of a car, unless the officer has probable reason to believe that evidence of criminal activity can be found inside the trunk, or with the consent of the driver.
While this is good news for marijuana patients and stoners alike, there are exceptions to these new instructions, as it remains illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana; as such, it also remains illegal to smoke or vape marijuana products in a vehicle. Officers suspecting drivers of being under the influence of cannabis are allowed to search the driver’s vehicle.
PSA: The author of this article does not endorse driving while under the influence of cannabis. If you are in New York, please consume responsibly.
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