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This article analyzes the history of policies by New York City government and police enforcement strategies to socially control marijuana use and sales in public locations—that is in the streets; parks; and quasi-public settings such as bars, restaurants, and stores. This particular article is organized around the laws, regulations, and enforcement associated with two central civic norms: (1) Users should not smoke marijuana in public settings (streets, parks) or in quasi-public settings such as stores, bars, restaurants, offices, etc. and (2) Persons should not sell marijuana in public and quasi-public settings. Occasionally, the authors make reference to marijuana use and sales in private settings, but the primary focus of marijuana policy makers and enforcement activities has always been directed towards those activities occurring in public locations.


Published in final edited form as:

Johnson, Bruce D. et al. "Policing and Social Control of Public Marijuana Use and Selling in New York City." Law Enforcement Executive Forum 6.5 (2006): 59-89.