NEW YORK (AP) - The district attorney of New York City's Manhattan borough says he will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Tuesday his office will decline to prosecute marijuana possession and smoking cases starting Aug. 1.
Vance said there will be a few exceptions. The move comes after The New York Times reported on the persistent racial gap in marijuana arrests.
The Times reported that the city's black people are eight times as likely to be arrested on low-level marijuana charges as white people. The report said the difference cannot all be attributed to more residents in predominantly black neighborhoods calling the police to complain about marijuana.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said Tuesday that the police department will overhaul its citywide marijuana-arrest policies within the next 30 days.
The dual mission of the @ManhattanDA's Office is a safer New York and a more equal justice system. The ongoing arrest and criminal prosecution of predominantly black and brown New Yorkers for smoking marijuana serves neither of these goals. https://t.co/08zSC6Uted #CJreform pic.twitter.com/ih5PtTSJyB— Cyrus Vance, Jr. (@ManhattanDA) May 15, 2018