Westchester DA takes step toward decriminalizing marijuana

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YONKERS -

Starting Monday, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino says he won't prosecute people found with less than 2 ounces of marijuana.

He says it's part of his plan to decriminalize the drug.

"This is not legalization, this is decriminalizing it, because of the ramifications that occur and collateral damage," says Scarpino.

Steve Salamone works with families and those dealing with addiction as part of the nonprofit Drug Crisis in Our Backyard. He says decriminalizing pot could help people turn their life around.

The criminalization of marijuana has had a dramatic and disproportionate impact on minority communities in the Hudson Valley. A report by the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform found that African-Americans and Latinos make up less than 40 percent of the population, but represent about 84 percent of the people arrested for low-level possession.

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