Did you know Brooklyn leads America in weed-related arrests, with 12,000 total last year? Did you know that African Americans are 9 times as likely to be arrested for weed than white people in Brooklyn?
Did you know that even though New York Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg have called for decriminalization and the State’s Assembly voted in favor of a laxer law, that possession of under an ounce of weed in New York can still get you handcuffed and thrown in jail?
Because these remain very sad facts that, despite widespread support both internally and Nationwide, New York’s Republican Senate will not ratify. Thus, while arrests in New York are thankfully on the decline, they remain a very real–and straight-up racist–threat to society.
Fortunately for Brooklyn, Ken Thompson (an African American) seems primed to take over as the borough’s DA, having already defeated the incumbent DA Charles Hynes in primary elections.
Thompson spoke with the Wall Street Journal this week, adamantly stating that he won’t waste resources and time to send people to jail for small amounts of cannabis (under 15 grams) and further clutter the state and his borough’s overflowing prisons.
“I’m going to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as violations, the way the governor is calling for,” Mr. Thompson said. “If the [state]Senate Republicans are not willing to pass that law, then I don’t think the people of Brooklyn can wait.”
While according to the WSJ, 70% of these cases are already dismissed and another 21% result in fines, they don’t always get erased from records, and do take an unmeasurable toll on the offender:
To fight one of these cases takes, on average, 362 days and several court appearances before a disposition is reached. To avoid that, many accept ACDs even though the marijuana wasn’t displayed publicly, Mr. Sayegh said. [WSJ]
Thompson’s likely election would, likewise, be a major win for both Brooklyn’s innocent stoners and misguided police officers. Like we say every day, it’s a matter of when, not if, the world’s biggest city pulls the trigger on some form of legalization.
In related news: even The New York Times is running pro-pot pieces these days.