New York City expected to reveal changes in enforcement of low-level marijuana crimes

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City is about to make a major announcement on marijuana.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to discuss a new policy which for some people means they won't be arrested if they are caught with it.

It comes after critics accused the prior policy of targeting minorities and for being too harsh.

The mayor is expected to reveal changes in how police handle low-level marijuana crimes.

Sources tell Eyewitness News in some instances the NYPD will issue a criminal summons instead of making an arrest.

"My hope is that I would hear more civil summonses for some of the charges as opposed to criminal, but we are moving in the right direction," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams.

Sources say there will also be exceptions. In recent weeks calls for this sort of action have come from a variety of leaders.

"The way we handle marijuana in New York City is irrational, insane and unfair," said City Cuoncil Speaker Corey Johnson.

Johnson was flanked by Rev. Al Sharpton and others back in May, denouncing the way the city handles marijuana from its policies to its policing.

They believe there is racial disparity in many marijuana arrests, mostly of blacks and Hispanics.

"Now the grandchild of stop and frisk is marijuana arrests based on race," said Sharpton.

That same day, Mayor de Blasio announced: "The NYPD will overhaul and reform its policies related to marijuana enforcement in the next 90 days."

Others want to take it further. "We believe we should legalize it, regulate it, tax it and use the money to fund drug treatment programs," said Johnson.

"The bigger picture?", said Williams. "The legalization of marijuana and the expungement of the records of people who have criminal records because of marijuana."

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