If you don’t live in New York like I do, this story probably didn’t get much attention in your local newspaper or on TV.
But it’s a pretty big deal here, and I’m thrilled it is.
After years and years of promises to change New York City’s insane policy of arresting citizens caught with even a tiny amount of marijuana, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the other day that from now on, New Yorkers caught with 25 grams or less of pot will be given a ticket, not arrested.
This is such a simple, intelligent change to America’s drug policy: Millions of people are slapped with a criminal record, and needlessly crowd jail cells, just for carrying a small amount of weed. Not selling it, not smoking it in public, not doing anything whatsoever other than carrying it. And yet we criminalize and stigmatize small marijuana users, while cigarettes and alcohol skate by scot-free.
How many police officers have their time wasted making small pot arrests? (A 2011 study found that NYC spent $75 million making pot arrests in 2010.)
How many stop-and-frisks that take place, primarily of young minority kids, are a complete waste of time when they result in a joint or two being found?
De-criminalizing marijuana possession is one small step on the road to a sensible drug policy. I know we’re miles, and miles away from actually stopping the prosecution of those who smoke pot, but hey, I’m a dreamer. This is a long-overdue first step by the city I love.
**Next up today, a wonderful video that Upworthy.com just highlighted that made me feel good. A first-grade teacher in Tennessee named Nancy Flexer is retiring after 41 years of service to her community’s students, and so an organization called “Kid President” decided to throw her a surprise going-away party.
They recruited a bunch of her former students, who over four decades had their lives shaped by this remarkable woman.
“I was a timid little blond girl, and your love for me gave me the confidence to grow into the woman I am today,” one former student says, wiping away tears.
The whole video is that good, and here’s some more background on Ms. Flexer.
Great teachers are the most precious resource we have.
**And finally today, this story cracked me up: An Alabama man named Zachary Torrence felt he was overweight and decided to try the “Jared from Subway” diet, trying to emulate the TV commercial star by eating Subway sandwiches three meals a day.
Unfortunately for Torrence, he didn’t lose weight. So to get his revenge, he robbed four Subway restaurants in the area to get his money back, he told police.
Oh, Zachary. Would’ve been so much easier if you just ate some fruits and vegetables.
On the plus side, chances are he’ll get to lose some weight in jail, I hear the food there stinks!