Soon, carrying small amounts of marijuana may lead only to a fine as opposed to a trip to the cell, thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s most significant effort to address the issues raised by Stop-And-Frisk.
The de Blasio administration is still working out the details, such as how much weed one could possess without triggering an arrest, and some are already unhappy with the proposed change. Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, who announced this year that he would stop prosecuting small-scale marijuana possession cases, said that telling people to show up in a court room without arresting them may actually be worse for minorities.
“In order to give the public confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system, these cases should be subject to prosecutorial review,” Thompson explained. “By allowing these cases to avoid early review, by issuing a summons, there is a serious concern that many summonses will be issued without the safeguards currently in place. These cases will move forward even when due process violations might have occurred.”
The shift could have a huge impact on black and brown bodies, which according to recent reports count for 86 percent of arrests for marijuana possession in the city in 2014.