NYC to stop many small-time pot arrests, to issue summonses and violations instead


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NEW YORK — Thousands of people carrying small amounts of marijuana may no longer be arrested or face criminal charges in New York City under a new policy.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh) and police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced it Monday. Instead of being arrested on a misdemeanor charge, many people will get summonses and face non-criminal violations.

The change marks a significant shift in how the nation's biggest city treats possession of up to 25 grams — about a sandwich bag — of pot. De Blasio has faced pressure to keep campaign promises to reduce the more than 20,000 such arrests per year.

State law makes it a misdemeanor to have up to 25 grams of marijuana in public view. The mayor and police commissioner characterize stopping such arrests as an enforcement choice.

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