In today's New York Daily News, Senior Editor Jacob Sullum tells the tale of the new pot policy recently announced by New York's police commissioner:
Last week, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued a directive that instructs officers to stop arresting people for publicly displaying marijuana after tricking them into committing that offense. Well, that's not quite the way he put it.
According to Kelly, he was merely reminding the city's cops that "the public display of marijuana must be an activity undertaken of the subject's own volition," and that the charge is not legally appropriate "if the marijuana recovered was disclosed to public view at an officer's discretion."…
By the police commissioner's own account, arrests in these circumstances are illegal, which means that most of the 350,000 or so pot smokers busted on his watch were wrongly detained, wrongly jailed, wrongly booked and wrongly saddled with criminal justice records and all the attendant expense, inconvenience and humiliation. In these circumstances, nearly a decade into a pot bust binge overseen by Kelly, asking police to try to follow the law from now on seems rather inadequate.