Mayor Bill de Blasio preparing for marijuana legalization in New York City

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Marijuana and New York City are not exactly strangers to each other - and soon, that friendship could reach a new high.

A City Hall Spokesperson tweeted that Mayor Bill de Blasio is preparing for marijuana legalization in New York City.

The mayor will reportedly tell the NYPD to stop arresting people for public pot smoking. Police will give summonses instead.

"We must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement," de Blasio said.

The news is the first step following the mayor's announcement last week that the NYPD will overhaul its policies on marijuana enforcement within the next 30 days.

It is a response to a scathing report showing that nearly nine out of 10 summonses for marijuana are given to blacks and Hispanics, who are eight times more likely to be arrested for cannabis.

Even New York Senior Senator Charles Schumer is coming around on the issue.

"We have five states now that have legalized marijuana," he said. "Crime has not gone up. Drug usage has not gone up. And marijuana has not proved a passageway to more serious drugs."

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said on Eyewitness News' "Up Close" that he was on board as well.

"We have too many young people of color being caught up in the criminal justice system having their lives ruined in many ways because they get arrested for smoking pot," he said. "It doesn't make any sense."

However, not every New Yorker is ready for legalization.

"If they're near children, personally, I don't disagree or agree, because right now wherever you walk, you smell it in the air," one resident said.

The mayor is not fully supporting legalizing pot, but he says it is only a matter of time, and the city should be ready.

"While I still have real concerns, it isn't difficult to see where this is headed," he said. "We must prepare for that eventuality."

It is unclear when the new policy will take effect.

* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.