Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. dismissed more than 3,000 cases of cannabis possession and consumption in New York on Wednesday, CNN reports.
The 3,042 cases dismissed dated back as far as 1978. No violent crimes involving cannabis were dismissed, said the DA. Public defender agencies were given the list of names of those with dismissed cases so the public can inquire about their legal status.
“Outstanding warrants for these low-level cases drive law enforcement and our communities apart. New Yorkers with warrants face unnecessary loss of employment, housing and immigration consequences, and because many of them fear they will be arrested for an open warrant, they don’t collaborate with the (New York Police Department) and district attorneys to keep our communities safe.” — Cyrus Vance Jr., via Fox 6
The cases will be sealed and formally dismissed in 90 days, the period of time necessary for paperwork to be filed by state agencies.
Wednesday’s dismissals are a continuation of New York’s increasingly open-minded stance on cannabis.
Earlier this month, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez proposed erasing tens of thousands of low-level cannabis convictions. In June, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced that they would no longer arrest people for public cannabis consumption and would issue tickets instead. In July, a study commissioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that New York should legalize adult-use cannabis. That study was quickly embraced by Gov. Cuomo, who organized listening sessions for public comment on the matter.
New York is expected to consider legalization legislation later this year.