Marijuana prosecutions plummet in parts of NYC after policy shifts

NEW YORK -- Marijuana prosecutions have plunged in two of New York City's five boroughs as their district attorneys stopped pursuing most pot cases and police changed their approach to marijuana enforcement.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. released statistics Thursday showing arraignments for low-level marijuana offenses dropped about 87 percent from August through October, compared to those months in 2017.

Nearly three-quarters of the 168 arraignments resulted in immediate dismissals.

Vance and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez this summer stopped prosecuting most new misdemeanor pot possession and smoking cases, saying they did little for public safety. Meanwhile, the police department furthered a shift toward issuing tickets instead of making arrests in most minor marijuana cases.

Gonzalez's office says it's had under a dozen marijuana cases in recent months' caseloads, compared to 349 in January.

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