Is Weed Legal in New York? Bill de Blasio Orders End to Marijuana Arrests
As New York City continues to grapple with a justice system that disproportionately punishes people of color for marijuana-related crimes, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has told the NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking marijuana in public. A source at City Hall told CNN that de Blasio made the request over the weekend, as his administration continues to look for ways to improve how the city polices marijuana-related drug charges. Summons or not, it’s unknown if the change would deter police officers from searching people on the suspicion that they possess marijuana. Marijuana is in a something of a legal limbo in the state of New York. Medical marijuana is legal for those with qualifying conditions, but only in non-smokable forms.
As more and more states have moved to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, NY’s own Senator Chuck Schumer recently threw his weight behind a federal bill that would decriminalize marijuana use. Preparing for the InevitablePerhaps eyeing this nation-wide trend, de Blasio’s new initiative also follows an investigation by the New York Times, published May 13, that showed how heavy-handed marijuana charges have disproportionately affected people of color across the city. According to data gathered by The Times, over the past three years, black people were arrested on low-level charges for marijuana eight times more often than white people. Specifically in Manhattan, black people were arrested at 15 times the rate of white people. Last week, Mayor de Blasio announced that the NYPD has formed a working group that will present recommendations on changing marijuana enforcement tactics within 30 days.
According to the New York Daily News on Monday, de Blasio is also putting together a task force to get ready for full legalization. It will be tasked with providing recommendations on issues like public education campaigns about marijuana use, how police will interact with public smokers, and zoning for dispensaries.
Marijuana Intoxication Blamed In More Deaths, Injuries « CBS Denver
In an autopsy report that had never been made public before, but was obtained by CBS4, his THC level – the active ingredient in marijuana – was measured at 38.2 nanograms. Up until now, just three other deaths in Colorado were seen as having links to marijuana. Levy Thamba Pongi, a 19-year-old college student jumped from a Denver balcony to his death in 2014 after eating marijuana edibles. Marijuana intoxication was listed as a factor in his death. The Juarez case adds another to the list of death cases with links to marijuana.
CBS4 found another Colorado death with strong ties to recreational marijuana. His older sister, Tori Castagna, told CBS4 she now believes marijuana impairment led her brother to make poor decisions the night of his death. Dr. Chris Colwell, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Denver Health Medical Center, said since the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, he has seen more and more cases like these of people who have ingested marijuana making poor decisions, decisions they would not otherwise make. Colwell said several times each week people enter the Denver Health emergency department after ingesting marijuana and acting suicidal.
Colwell said his ER is seeing more and more of the same issues from marijuana that it has historically seen from alcohol. Marijuana activists call these kinds of stories scare tactics and say the problems associated with marijuana ingestion are infinitesimal when compared to alcohol and prescription drugs. In Boulder, eight years after her son’s death, Ann Clark believes her son’s own words show that marijuana led him to kill himself.
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