Statement by Mayor Bloomberg:
“Last year, Police Commissioner Kelly issued a policy order directing officers to issue violations, rather than misdemeanors, for small amounts of marijuana that come into open view during a search. The Governor’s proposal today is consistent with the Commissioner’s directive, and strikes the right balance by ensuring that the NYPD will continue to have the tools it needs to maintain public safety – including making arrests for selling or smoking marijuana. Thanks to the NYPD, our city has come a long way from the days when marijuana was routinely sold and smoked on our streets without repercussions. By preventing these crimes, and targeting police resources to where they are needed most, we have cut crime by 35 percent over the past decade. Commissioner Kelly will be attending the Governor’s press conference later today to show our support for his proposal, and we look forward to working with legislative leaders to help pass a bill before the end of session.”
Statement by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly:
During several appearances that I’ve made at the City Council in New York City, I was asked to respond to criticism by some members of the Council that the Police Department was making, quote, “too many” arrests for small amounts of marijuana. And my response to them, was, well, your option is to go to Albany and get the law changed – better that than having New York City police officers turn a blind eye to the law as it was written, and as it is still written. And there were allegations that we were erroneously targeting people, who were arrested for marijuana when they were producing it as a result of direction on the part of a police officer. So to reduce the confusion in this matter, we issued an operations order last September that reminded police officers how the law should be applied. It stated that misdemeanor arrests will not be made for situations where the marijuana is produced at the direction of a police officer. Now, this law will make certain that the confusion in this situation will be eliminated. It also mandates that a violation will be charged, irrespective, as the district attorney said, whether marijuana is in plain sight or not. So it makes the question of the arrest moot, and quite frankly makes the application of this law much clearer. It comports to the spirit of the operations order that we put out. I think it’s a balanced approach, and it’s significant in that it supports our quality of life efforts in that smoking it in public or burning it is still a misdemeanor, still a crime. And I want to make certain, because there is some misinformation on this – Mayor Bloomberg totally supports this legislation. He hopes that it passes in this session, as do I.
(YWN Desk – NYC)