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Manhattan ready to cut down on prosecuting marijuana cases, just like Brooklyn

August 1, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn has seen a drop in crime this year despite the fact that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has cut down on the percentage of cases involving low-level marijuana charges that it will prosecute. Now Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance (pictured) has implemented a similar strategy. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is following in the footsteps of Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and began a program yesterday, where he will no longer prosecute low-level marijuana cases.

Gonzalez announced last week that his office has seen a 91 percent drop in cases prosecuted in June compared to January and, as of Wednesday, Manhattan should see a drastic shift as well as possession of small amounts of marijuana has been effectively decriminalized and smoking pot in public is even allowed provided no one has filed a complaint and no other criminal activity is taking place.

Instead of focusing on people consuming marijuana, Manhattan prosecutors are expected to focus their efforts on sellers and people posing a threat to public safety.

DA Vance estimates that the policy will result in his office declining to prosecute nearly 5,000 cases a year and expects that fewer than 200 cases will be prosecuted per year in the future, which would represent a 96 percent reduction, according to his office.

In Brooklyn, there were 349 criminal court complaints related to marijuana in January, but just 29 in June.

All this has happened while crime has dropped in Brooklyn overall during the first seven months of the year compared to the same time last year. Overall, there have been 2.3 percent fewer incidents of crime in the borough, according to NYPD Compstat, in 2018. Murder is also down more than 10 percent although shooting incidents are up slightly.


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