Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly released a memo on Sept. 19 reminding police officers of the existing law and procedure regarding the arrest of individuals in possession of small amounts of concealed marijuana. The commissioner released a memo to police supervisors saying individuals should not be charged for small amounts of the contraband unless it is in public sight. In the memo, the commissioner reiterated that a small amount of marijuana is a ticketable, non-fingerprintable offense.

The commissioner’s reminder garnered praise from Council Members Jumaane D. Williams and Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and community organizations due to the large number of Blacks and Hispanics being stopped, frisked and requested to empty their pockets without prior suspicion.

Charges over small amounts of the drug have increased under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In 2010, the NYPD made 50,000 arrests of individuals for small amounts of marijuana.