Today, New Yorkers seem to be getting and staying higher than the city skyscrapers that tower over them. With the decriminalization of low-level cannabis possession last November, the city has seen a steady increase in public cannabis consumption, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing.
Mayor de Blasio introduced a new policy to the New York police department, effective Nov. 14 of last year, stating that a person possessing 25 grams of cannabis or less shall only receive a ticket and monetary fine instead of being arrested — as long as users have proper ID and no outstanding warrants. This has changed the way city goers view public smoking. However, this is not to be confused with complete legalization, and its important to reiterate that New Yorkers can still most definitely be cuffed for smoking joints in public. The decision to make an arrest or issue a citation is completely up to the discretion of the officer on the scene.
“If you’re smoking (marijuana) in public, we will potentially arrest you,”
said police commissioner, Bill Bratton.
With the new policies regarding decriminalization going into effect, there is something that seems to be lost in translation. Leisurely smoking in the city is reportedly on the rise and many people are concerned about the effects it will have on those uncomfortable with marijuana. However, cannabis advocates claim there is no harm being brought to others and smoking marijuana is just another everyday activity.
“We’re not acting out. We’re just standing here smoking our joint, and if anybody comes up to us and happens to be an undercover cop or something, they can easily just tell us, ‘Hey you’ve got to put that out.’ It’s very easygoing,”
said an anonymous street side toker.