New York’s not getting legalized cannabis yet, but the Big Apple is still making some progressive moves in its marijuana policies. On Monday, the New York City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill that would bar prohibit the city from testing people on probation for cannabis.
A vote on the bill will advance to the full council on Tuesday.
The New York Daily News reports that last year 20,000 adults and teens were on probation in New York City. 600 of those were tested for cannabis and 270 were rearrested on a marijuana charge during the year.
For every ten people who successfully complete parole, nine of them end up back in prison due to a low-level infraction such as cannabis use, according to Committee chair Donovan Richards of Queens.
“People who are on probation are getting a chance to rehabilitate and find a path to a successful, law abiding life,” said Richards. “While we are working to reduce the population on Rikers, we should be finding reasons to get probationers out of the system, not looking for more reasons to trip them up.”
“We all know that there’s no public safety value in violating people over low level marijuana offenses, especially today when the state has already legalized medical marijuana and is talking about legalizing recreational use.”
Even council members against cannabis legalization were still in favor of the bill. Fernando Cabrera of the Bronx said, “I’m not for the legalizing of marijuana at this point in time, but I don’t think that just on the basis of someone who is on probation, who is trying to do the right thing, they should be sent back [to jail].”
Photo via Flickr user PPI drug testing