Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced Tuesday that, under most circumstances, his office will no longer prosecute first-time offenders arrested for low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession, Brooklyn News Corp reports.
“As District Attorney, I have the additional duty to do justice, and not merely convict, and to reform and improve our criminal justice system in Brooklyn,” Thompson said.
The decision is part of an effort to make better use of limited law enforcement resources, said Thompson, and to prevent offenders – who are disproportionately young men of color – from being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, non-violent offense.
“Pursuant to this policy, we will use our prosecutorial discretion to decline to prosecute, and dismiss upfront, certain low-level marijuana possession cases based on criteria concerning the particular individual and the circumstances of the case,” said Thompson.
“For example, cases will be dismissed prior to arraignment for those with little or no criminal record, but we will continue to prosecute marijuana cases which most clearly raise public health and safety concerns.”