Sergeants Benevolent Association President Edward Mullins today argued that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s decision to end low-level marijuana arrests would harm communities of color.
Speaking on the Geraldo Rivera Show, Mr. Mullins argued that only issuing summonses rather than arresting people caught with 25 grams or less of the drug would give implicit approval to minorities to use it. Studies have shown whites use marijuana at greater rates, but blacks and Hispanics account for roughly 86 percent of all arrests related to the substance.
“Biased arrests of minorities against whites–I understand the numbers and I understand the feeling behind it,” Mr. Mullins said, before warning of the dangers the new regulations pose. “Are we then saying that it is okay for minorities to use marijuana? And are we writing that off in that community?”
Mr. Mullins, a registered Republican who has clashed repeatedly with the liberal mayor, said he supported medicinal use of marijuana, and even seemed to suggest legalizing the drug entirely and placing similar restrictions on its use and production as alcohol. But he claimed the illicit, street-level nature of the weed trade makes it dangerous.
“If you buy a Budweiser, you know it’s a Budweiser. Drug dealers can put different mixtures into marijuana,” he argued.
Using marijuana in public will still be a misdemeanor offense under the new protocol. But Mr. Mullins argued it was incumbent upon people of all colors to reject drug use entirely.
“It should be for everybody, white, black, Hispanic, to say ‘this may not be healthy for you and it may be an entryway drug,'” Mr. Mullins said. “I think we’re turning our backs on the minority community by doing this. It’s not right.”