Everything You Need to Know About New York City's New Marijuana Possession Policy

Categories: Marijuana

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dankdepot via Flickr
You can get away with carrying more than this.
The New York City Police Department announced Monday that officers will be adopting new guidelines when it comes to marijuana possession stops. What does that mean for you? Here's what you need to know, you goddamn hippie:

See Also: A Day in the Life of Your Friendly Neighborhood Weed Messenger

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How New York City's New Plan to Ticket Instead of Arrest for Pot Could Backfire

Categories: Marijuana

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Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton are set to hold a press conference at 1 Police Plaza on Monday
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Bill Bratton are reportedly ready to announce a big change in the way the NYPD deals with low-level pot arrests. Police officers will begin issuing tickets for pot possession rather than making an arrest, according to a report published by the New York Times on Sunday. The change would mean anyone found in possession of a small amount of pot would be given a notice to show up in court, rather than put in handcuffs and hauled down to the station, where they would have to be fingerprinted and have a mugshot taken.

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New York City's Health Department Would Like to Remind You Fake Weed Is Dangerous and Stupid

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Image via Wikimedia Commons
Just don't.
New York City emergency rooms are seeing an outbreak of fake marijuana-related illnesses, according to the city's health department. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning on Sunday urging people not to buy or use "synthetic cannabinoids," which are often sold at head shops under names like K2, Spice, and Green Giant. The agency says it's gotten reports of 15 fake weed-related emergency room visits over the past two days, concentrated in East Harlem, Central Harlem and Chelsea.

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This is How Many Blacks and Latinos Will Be Arrested For Pot Possession in 2014, Compared With Other Races

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Communities United for Police Reform
Projected marijuana possession arrests, 2014; Black and Latino New Yorkers are represented in purple.
Newly-installed NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure has been on the job for less than a week, but there are no shortage of demands on his attention. Last week, we reported on the first complaint filed with Eure's office, nestled in the Department of Investigation, by Robert Jereski on behalf of activists including himself whose organizations had been infiltrated and surveilled by undercover NYPD officers.

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New York is THIS Close To Legalizing Medical Weed, But NYC is Still the Pot Arrest Capital of the U.S.

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Tessa Stuart
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
On Tuesday the New York State Assembly passed, for the fifth time since it was introduced in 1997, the Compassionate Care Act. The bill would legalize medical marijuana in New York state, allowing sick New Yorkers relief from symptoms associated with cancer treatment, MS, epilepsy, and other ailments. With that vote, New York comes one step closer to joining the 21 others states and the District of Columbia where marijuana is legal in some form.

The same day, in downtown New York, demonstrators in front of One Police Plaza called attention to the fact that, despite progress in Albany, New York City remains the marijuana arrest capital of the United States.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries gathered with representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance, Human Rights Watch, and Vocal New York beside a large graph showing that despite promises Mayor Bill de Blasio made during his campaign, arrests for simple possession have not dropped in any significant way since he took office.

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New York is Closer Than Ever to a Passing a Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Law--But Don't Hold Your Breath

Categories: Marijuana

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rafael-castillo via Flickr
On Tuesday, the New York State Senate's Health Committee voted to approve the Compassionate Care Act. If the bill goes on to pass the full senate, it would create a comprehensive statewide system for New Yorkers to access medical marijuana.

I know what you're thinking--didn't Governor Andrew Cuomo say back in January that he was going to legalize medical weed? Yeah, he said that, but his declaration came with a truckload of caveats: the program would be limited only to patients with specific ailments, and the marijuana, which the state planned to buy from the federal government, would be dispensed at just 20 hospitals. That plan, which was allocated $0 of funding in this year's state budget, has enough built-in logistical obstacles that, realistically, it will years before it sees the light of day, if it does at all.

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Video: Will NYC Ever Legalize Marijuana?

Categories: Marijuana, Video

"This year we're calling it a victory parade," says Laura Notini, an organizer for the 2014 NYC Cannabis Parade, which traveled down Broadway from 32nd Street to Union Square on Saturday, May 3, 2014. "We've had great victories around the country and we're hoping to keep that energy going and get some victories in New York."

We asked New Yorkers in Union Square what they think of New York's pot history -- of course, at least one person claims marijuana activism was first sparked here in the '70s, along with the the foundation of High Times magazine -- and about its future.

Most people videographer Saila Huusko spoke with on Saturday praised the benefits of marijuana as a medicinal aid --but as the performance by Redman in the video shows, it's also probably the single best party drug to ever exist.

Also read: "The Weed Issue: Like, a Village Voice Special Report, Man."

A Day in the Life of Your Friendly Neighborhood Weed Messenger

Categories: Marijuana

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Jeremy Eaton
Desmond* has been a weed courier on and off for almost four years. He's in his mid-twenties now, but he was still in college when he heard about the opportunity through a classmate. He works three days a week, and makes, on average, 15 deliveries a day. If he makes more than 20, he gets a free bag. Usually he'll give it away or resell it — he used to be a big stoner, but he doesn't smoke much any more; certain strains make him anxious.

The work helps him pay off his student loans and subsidizes his creative pursuits (he's in two bands and does photography on his days off). When he's working, he looks like any one of the hundreds of bike messengers who speed around New York City, clad in shorts, perched on a single-speed bike, with a bag and a couple of delivery tubes slung over one shoulder. And like any other messenger, he can be at your door in 20 minutes or less.

*Not his real name.

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Medical Marijuana Bill Wins in the New York State Assembly

Categories: Marijuana

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Alexodus via Compfight cc
On Monday, a bill that would allow medical marijuana use sailed through the New York State Assembly, passing with a clean 95-38. If the bill makes it through the Senate, folks with "severely debilitating or life-threatening conditions" could be prescribed pot by their doctors.

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NYPD Biased Against Blacks in Marijuana-Related Stops, Civil Liberties Group Analysis Suggests

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The NYPD's stop and frisk campaign led directly to the surge in low-level marijuana arrests, figures released today by the New York Civil Liberties Union show.

For context, marijuana arrests are the top arrest category in the entire stop and frisk program. Last year, five percent--or 26,000--of all stops were for suspected possession of marijuana. Despite the fact that whites use marijuana at a higher rate, blacks by far bore the brunt of those stops--61 percent, in all. Incredibly, just 9 percent of marijuana-based stop involved white folks.

Here's the kicker: misdemeanor law requires that the pot be in plain view, and cops can only stop people they actually see with marijuana, and yet, the drug was seized in just 8.5 percent of the stops, which means cops were either wrong or willfully wrong in the other 91.5 percent.

The numbers, the NYCLU says, "strongly suggest that officers are stopping people for alleged marijuana offenses without any justification."

Out of those 26,000 stops, just over 5,300 resulted in marijuana arrests.

"Despite the NYPD's repeated claim that its stop-and-frisk program is valuable because it targets guns, the facts show that it is much more a marijuana arrest program," the NYCLU says.

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