New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that the New York City Police Department will ticket marijuana smokers instead of automatically arresting them, unless they already have past arrests or convictions.
The New York Times reports that the policy will begin Sept. 1. The new policy won’t stop police from stopping and frisking people who they assume are smoking weed.
People who are caught smoking will still be handcuffed and taken to a police station for fingerprinting to see if they have been arrested in connection with a violent crime in the last three years, are on probation or parole, or have an open arrest warrant.
Of course, despite the easing up of marijuana policy, black and Hispanic people in the city are still disproportionately being issued tickets. In the first four months of this year, 80 percent of those given tickets for marijuana possession were black or Hispanic, the Times notes.