While there are some states that have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, the people who live there still maintain a certain level of discretion when they light up. We are not yet at the point where it’s acceptable to walk up the street with a lit joint or a medical marijuana vaporizer, but try telling that to the people of New York. That state is not among those that have gone the legalization route, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken the step of decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession, which many New Yorkers seem to see as their cue to hit the street blowing plumes of vapor from the vape pens and smoke from their joints.
One of the major papers in the city, the New York Post, recently ran an article that was prompted by seeing New Yorkers seem to ignore that possession and consumption of marijuana is still not totally legal. The residents of the Big Apple have always been an outspoken bunch, but this sort of behavior seems a little bold even for them. While the laws may have been relaxed, it is still likely that the police will snap the cuffs on anyone they see lighting up in public.
In fairness to the NYPD, they still have a job to do in spite of the new regulations. Mayor de Blasio made it clear to police officers that they should issue a ticket to anyone caught possessing 25 grams or less of marijuana. That level of possession will not land you in jail, but lighting up a joint will earn you a trip to jail. This is a step in the right direction, and those looking to skirt around the rules a little could consider using a vapor pen, as it is still a more discrete way of taking weed than lighting up a joint that will issue that telltale odor.
The message seems to be getting a little lost in translation, though, as many people are taking decriminalization as a sign that they can smoke weed whenever the mood strikes. The people that the Post spoke said that they were not lighting up out of an act of defiance, but were rather just taking the opportunity to get a little fresh air while they take a hit. Most said that they lit up in crowded places, as doing so made the act of illegally smoking weed in public a little less obvious than it would be if they were sneaking it down an alley.
Cops appear, for the most part, to be going along with the smokers for now. Most will simply issue a warning and inform the smoker that what they are doing is illegal. It’s a sort of détente that we can only hope will continue, and which we also hope will lead to even looser marijuana laws in New York. As long as everyone co-operates and does so in a peaceful manner, New York may become the next state to see recreational marijuana become legal.