Back in April, newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson sent NYPD chief Bill Bratton a memo saying that he would begin "immediately dismissing" charges against people caught with small amounts of pot, so long as they had no (or minimal) criminal records. It took a few months of discussions with the NYPD but, on Tuesday, Thompson announced that the new policy — which had been one of his campaign promises — is finally going into effect.
In a statement, Bratton confirmed that the shift "will not result in any changes in the policies and procedures of the NYPD." So, cops will continue to make arrests for minor marijuana offenses in Brooklyn, and the people whom they arrest will still have to go through central booking, or at least accept a ticket ordering them to appear in court. Those with serious criminal histories and those busted smoking in public places or around kids will still be subject to prosecution, and 16- and 17-year-olds will be placed in a diversion program so "they may be successfully redirected onto a healthier path." But once the D.A.'s office signs off, mostly everyone else will be free to go, and their fingerprints will be destroyed.