The New York Police Department, which has been arresting tens of thousands of people a year for low-level marijuana possession, is poised to stop making such arrests and to issue tickets instead, according to law enforcement officials.
People found with small amounts of marijuana would be issued court summonses and be allowed to continue on their way without being handcuffed and taken to station houses for fingerprinting.
The change would remake the way the police in New York City handle the most common drug offenses and would represent Mayor Bill de Blasio’s most significant effort since taking office to address the enduring effects of the department’s excessive stop-and-frisk practices.
Curbing arrests for small-scale marijuana possession has become a cause for criminal justice reform advocates, and this year, the new Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, said he would stop prosecuting such cases. But his announcement did not go over well with Mr. de Blasio and his police commissioner, William J. Bratton, who vowed to continue making low-level marijuana arrests.
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