DA requests, judge grants dismissal of low-level pot charges following mayor's order

Feb 22, 2019

Nearly three-dozen people facing low-level marijuana crimes have had the charges against them dismissed. The move comes at the request of Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Thomas Amodeo agreed with Flynn that it was "in the interest of justice" to vacate outstanding warrants and dismiss charges against 35 people facing misdemeanor marijuana charges.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn has dismissed low-level marijuana charges against 35 people.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

Flynn says he made the motion because he expects recreational marijuana will soon be legal in New York state.

"I'm using my prosecutorial discretion to handle old bench warrants to remove the cloud that is over these individuals' heads right now," Flynn said at a news conference at Buffalo City Court.

Flynn points out Mayor Byron Brown, in his recent State of the City address, ordered Buffalo Police to stop enforcing low-level marijuana offenses. The 35 individuals were all charged with either smoking or possessing marijuana.

The DA says he also considered the social justice component because minorities are arrested the most for misdemeanor marijuana crimes.

"Of the 35 that I just dismissed, 28 were minorities," Flynn said.

Flynn says his office will be seeking to dismiss similar warrants in local courts across Erie County.