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NYPD officers instructed to let adults smoke marijuana in nearly all outdoor, public spaces

A new bill legalized recreational marijuana on Wednesday, including any public space that smoking tobacco is permitted.

Updated: April 3, 2021 - 1:12pm

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Just days after the state of New York enact a law legalized recreational marijuana, the New York Police Department  instructing officers to allow adults to smoke in public, ignore public exchanges of pot unless money is involved and to not search vehicle based on smell to burnt marijuana. 

While many states have legalized the substance for adults 21 and over in private residences, New Yorkers over 21 will be allowed to smoke pot in public wherever smoking tobacco is permitted, something uncommon in most marijuana-friendly states including California, Colorado and Oregon. 

The change was signed into law Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The law also legalized the some sales and growing of marijuana.

A four-page directive for the New York City police department officers explains they cannot "approach, stop or detain” parolees for smoking or possessing pot, even if officers know probation doesn't permit them to get high, according to the NY Post. The officers must instead report the incident to "relevant parole officers" who should enforce the conditions.

"Individuals who are 21 or older may lawfully smoke marijuana almost anywhere that cigarette smoking is allowed including on sidewalks, on front stoops and other public places," the memo reads, noting that an officer's approach is not warranted "in any of these locations."

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