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Arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana have dropped 13 percent in New York City since the police department relaxed its enforcement policy in September, Reuters reports.

Police made 1,190 fewer marijuana arrests in the past nine weeks, compared with the same period last year, according to a spokesman for the New York City Police Department.

Under the new rules, a person who is caught smoking marijuana, or who is found with a small amount of the drug in public view, can still be arrested. But if the same amount is found in a suspect’s possession during a police search, it is considered a violation, which is punishable by summons, the spokesman said.

This summer, The New York Times reported that hundreds of New Yorkers who have been found with small amounts of marijuana, or who have simply admitted to using the drug, have been accused of child neglect, even though they did not face criminal charges. In some of these cases, parents have lost custody of their children.


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