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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

Graphic: What NYC’s New Marijuana Policy Means for You

Starting next week, the NYPD will issue tickets for low-level pot possession instead of arresting you. Here's a guide to exactly what they can and can't do.

4 Substance

The NYPD announced this week that they will stop arresting people for low-level pot possession and issue misdemeanor tickets instead. The historic new policy, which takes effect on November 19, will put an end to New York State’s unhappy record of having the highest rate of low-level pot arrests in the country.

“Too many New Yorkers without any prior convictions have been arrested for low-level marijuana possession,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Blacks and Latino communities have been disproportionately affected.” The mayor, who promised during his campaign to curtail stop-and-frisk, says the new policy will help reduce the number of people with a felony on their records, which “can literally follow them the rest of their lives.”

However, as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton warned yesterday, marijuana is “still against the law. I’m not giving out get-out-of-jail-for-free cards.”

So, what exactly is permissible and what happens if you get caught? Here’s a helpful heads-up about smoking—and possessing—pot on the streets of NYC: