Reports indicate that NYPD officers are being told to halt the practice of “buy-and-bust.” Critics praising the cessation say the tactic unfairly targets citizens of color.
An announcement making the policy official is expected Monday. People found with marijuana will no longer be arrested and instead receive a court summons.
State law dictates that 25 grams of marijuana can lead to a misdemeanor charge.
“Buy-and-bust” utilizes undercover narcotics officers posing as potential drug buyers to bust drug dealers selling marijuana.
NYPD narcotics chief, Brian McCarthy, said in one report that the city has a growing problem with heroin, and busting people for marijuana takes officers away from dealing with that issue. Experts also believe that as marijuana is being more accepted, the NYPD is easing up on arrest for possession of the drug.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced in July that his office would no longer prosecute first-time offenders arrested for low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession. He cited that many of those arrested are disproportionately young men of color being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, non-violent offense.
In Brooklyn, more than two-thirds of marijuana cases end up being dismissed by judges. Often times the defendant was offered an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal at their criminal court arraignment.
“The processing of these cases exacts a cost on the criminal justice system and takes a toll on the individual,” he said. “Given that these cases are ultimately — and predictably — dismissed, the burdens that they pose on the system and the individual are difficult to justify. We are pouring money into an endeavor that produces no public safety benefit.”