On the same day, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said that his office would stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana offenses such as possession and smoking in public this summer, while Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said his office would only prosecute cases based on public safety concerns.
Vance said that his office will stop prosecuting marijuana possession and smoking cases starting August 1 except for a few cases involving "demonstrated public safety concerns".
Although Manhattan will be ending the majority of its prosecutions, it is requesting the city to present limited exceptions with regard to public safety for prosecution.
"The ongoing arrest and criminal prosecution of predominantly black and brown New Yorkers for smoking marijuana serves neither of these goals", he said.
The Times found, "Across the city, black people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white, non-Hispanic people over the past three years".
The Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network was also in attendance at Monday's press conference and said policing issues when it comes to Blacks and Latinos stem from widespread arrests for marijuana possessions.
"At the same time, I took an oath to uphold the laws of the state of NY, and ultimately, this is an issue that should be decided in a more thoughtful and comprehensive way by the state Legislature, and not as a rushed reaction to the top news headlines of the day".
Johnson, Sharpton and other Council members also called on cops to give summonses instead of arresting people caught smoking pot in public.
Bowing to community pressure and anger from the City Council, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday a month-long review of how the NYPD handles marijuana-arrest procedures. They support making pot legal, but say the city should act before that happens.
At an event in Washington, D.C., de Blasio announced the NYPD will change how it enforces marijuana laws. New York City officials and district attorneys made efforts on Tuesday to curb marijuana arrests, which primarily affect black and Hispanic residents. "The number of arrests in that precinct, the 76th Precinct, were 246 arrests".
In his speech Tuesday, de Blasio promised changes were coming.
In response to the reports and announcement to policy changes, the NYPD is denying targeted marijuana arrests despite numbers proving otherwise.
The move comes after the release of two major reports about marijuana in New York State.
To address the disparity, city leaders are calling for full marijuana legalization on a state level.
Acknowledging racial disparities, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said, "We need an honest assessment about why they exist.The NYPD has no interest in arresting New Yorkers for marijuana offenses when those arrests have no impact on public safety".
In 2014, late-Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said the office would no longer prosecute most first-time offenders arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
On the state level, Gov. Andrew Cuomo commissioned a study on legalization earlier this year.