#N12BK: Mayor de Blasio asks NYPD to stop public pot smoking arrests

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NEW YORK -

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will tell the NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking pot in public.

The mayor says he wants to launch a new group to officially prepare the city for the outright legalization of marijuana in New York. 

De Blasio has long opposed making recreational marijuana legal, but now says he thinks legalization is inevitable.

He says he is creating an official task force to get ready for the new law, if and when it happens. 

"The mayor is taking a hard look at it and he believes it's where we are headed. Regardless, he'll definitely have a voice in crafting the critical regulations as this process develops," press secretary Eric Phillips says.

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