While the Obama Administration continues its crackdown on marijuana, including medical marijuana, New York City is joining other jurisdictions in the decriminalization of possession of small quantities of pot. Last year, NYPD made 50,000 arrests for such small quantities of pot. The welcomed change further detaches the federal crackdown on marijuana from public opinion if not reality.
Possession of small amounts of marijuana is a crime only if the marijuana is in public view or if it is being smoked in public, but these arrests are part of the controversial policy of pat downs by police — the current debate of extensive use of the stop-and-frisk practice by police.
Just this week I was called by a friend whose teenage son was charged with other teenagers after a police raid on a party that generated a complaint over noise. He was simply in a house where officers found a small amount of pot but they still charged everyone upstairs with possession. It is obviously a ridiculous charge but I hear of such cases constantly in Virginia and other states. While some politicians insist that pot is a “gateway” drug to more serious drugs, it is more clearly a gateway to criminal records for teenagers who are torn from their schools and lives to face entirely unnecessary charges.
Source: NY Times