Marijuana arrests fall in New York after rule change

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2011 4:53 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Arrests for misdemeanor marijuana possession have fallen 13 percent in New York City since September, when the police department relaxed its enforcement policy, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.

New York City police made 1,190 fewer marijuana arrests since Commissioner Raymond Kelly's September 19 directive, compared to the same nine-week period a year ago, spokesman Paul Browne said.

A person who is caught smoking marijuana, or has a small amount of it in public view, is still subject to arrest, according to the guidelines. But in cases where "the same small amount" is discovered in a suspect's pockets during a police search, it is considered a violation, punishable by summons, Brown said.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by David Bailey)