By Kevin Deutsch
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark has instructed her office to decline prosecutions of marijuana possession cases when a defendant faces no other charges, according to a statement provided to the city council.
“I am mindful of the disproportionate impact of marijuana arrests on young people of color in the Bronx,” Clark said in a statement provided to the council’s public safety committee, which held a hearing on marijuana legalization policies Wednesday. “In the fourth quarter of 2018 alone, approximately 90 percent of individuals arrested for marijuana possession in the Bronx were either Black or Hispanic.”
Clark said that as legalization of marijuana draws nearer, she and fellow prosecutors have worked to reduce the harm caused to people by criminalization.
“As such, until a change in the Penal Law occurs, when an arrest is made for marijuana possession and burning cases, I have instructed Assistant District Attorneys in my office to decline to prosecute the arrest when only a marijuana charge appears on the complaint, and then direct the police officer to issue a summons,” the statement reads.
The document was posted by the council’s Progressive Caucus on Twitter.
The DA’s Office did not immediately respond to an email with questions about the statement.
The state Legislature is expected to take up legislation legalizing recreational marijuana use later this year.