Ken Thompson, Brooklyn’s new district attorney, is making some drastic changes.
While he doesn’t have the authority to legalize marijuana in his New York City borough, he can decide who is charged, and Thompson has vowed not to prosecute low-level marijuana offenses.
According to the Huffington Post, Ken Thompson said during his inaugural address last Sunday, “I not only want to keep Brooklyn safe, I want to protect the future of our youth. That means we must change the policy regarding those who are arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.”
Thompson is Brooklyn’s first black district attorney. During his campaign, he promised not to prosecute low-level marijuana offenses—which translate to possession under 15 grams.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told the Huffington Post, “He [Thompson] can’t pass legislation to legalize marijuana, but he can decide who will be prosecuted for it, and I think it’s an excellent way to use his office.”
In New York, possession of small amounts of marijuana is an offense if the drug is in “public view.” Between 2002 and 2012, the New York City Police Department made 440,000 arrests for low-level marijuana crimes.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Thompson as progressive. “Ken is going to help create a new New York in which we make people safe and respect their rights at the same time, and that means ending the overuse of stop and frisk once and for all,” the mayor said during Thompson’s inauguration.
Read more at the Huffington Post.