The nasty campaign for Brooklyn DA just took a turn for the dank: democratic DA candidate Ken Thompson vowed yesterday that if elected, he will order prosecutors to throw out nearly all cases involving less than 15 grams of pot. "These arrests are clogging the criminal-justice system," Thompson told the WSJ. This ought keep the Weed Fairy in business a little longer.
The NYPD has seemingly made good on their promise to cut back on meaningless low-level marijuana possession—arrests for weed possession are on track to fall by 20% in 2013, and police say that overall enforcement of marijuana laws are taking a back seat to drugs that can actually kill you (marijuana is, after all, the most popular, least deadly illegal drug in the whole world). Nevertheless, 12,732 people were arrested in Brooklyn last year for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
And Thompson thinks that's a ridiculous figure: "I'm going to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as violations, the way the governor is calling for," he told the Journal. "If the [state] Senate Republicans are not willing to pass that law, then I don't think the people of Brooklyn can wait."
Supporters of Thompson's opponent, current DA Charles Hynes, who is running as a Republican after losing the Democratic primary, don't sound in favor of this attitudinal change: "He is not even D.A. yet and he's deciding not to uphold the legislation that's part of the state of New York's penal code?" said Hynes supporter State Sen. Martin Golden. Nevertheless, about 70% of all those arrested in Brooklyn for low-level marijuana possession over the last three years have had their charges dismissed.
A Gallup poll released this week shows that 58% of Americans support legalizing marijuana. State Senator Liz Krueger has been trying to take a page from other states and push for a law that would decriminalize, regulate and tax marijuana in New York state. While we may be a few decades away from that becoming a reality, easing off on the low-level pot arrests and prosecutions is certainly a step in the right direction.