The new directive makes use of pot in public on par with possession of small amounts of the drug, The Hill reported Monday. A New York City Hall aide reportedly tipped CNN off about the development.
De Blasio has been on a reform kick as of late, announcing last week in Washington that he would be overseeing the "overhaul and reform" of the city's marijuana policies. "We must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement. It's time for those to be a thing of the past, in New York City and all over this country," according to the Office of the Mayor's website.
Far more people of color are stopped by the NYPD and data shows that law enforcement disproportionately affects people of color. An investigation by the New York Times reported last week that black New York residents were eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites and that Hispanics were five times more likely to be arrested for possession than whites.
Last year, 86 percent of those arrested for low-level marijuana possession were black and Hispanic, Amsterdam News noted.
However, Vox noted that deprioritizing marijuana enforcement, something de Blasio has trumpeted since his 2014 election, doesn't address the racial divide in punishment, with similar disparities existing both in states that have and have not legalized marijuana in some way.