On February 15, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown discussed changing the city’s policy regarding marijuana arrests. He has ordered the Buffalo Police Department to stop enforcing low-level marijuana possession offenses, citing potential legalization as the main reason.
“We’re concerned about criminalizing people potentially ahead of a process that would de-criminalize marijuana,” said Brown.
This newly adjusted policy would stop the police from making arrests solely for possessing a small amount of marijuana. But Buffalo DWI attorney, Arthur Pressman, does not believe the new policy will have a noticeable effect on the city.
“Over the last five to ten years there’s been very little enforcement of standalone marijuana violations,” said Pressman. “It’s always been a non-criminal infraction. The maximum penalty is a $100 fine.”
Captain Jeff Rinaldo of the BPD said that a typical marijuana charge usually comes after a person is arrested for something else more serious, like battery or assault.
“It’s not that we have any unit of the police department out there looking for people who are simply possessing or smoking marijuana,” said Rinaldo.
While marijuana arrests have never been a top priority for the police, this has never been made aware to the community. People who have already been arrested for marijuana possession believe that the announcement of this new policy may help strengthen the community’s confidence in the justice system.
The full story with WIVB can be accessed here.