Last year, New York passed it's medical marijuana legislation and are now waiting for dispensaries to open for patients, but despite no access to legal buds, the smell of cannabis is in the air. No, literally, the amount of people smoking more openly on New York City streets has dramatically grown as they believe the it is much safer than it used to be. With multiple states either having legalized recreational marijuana or trying to, tokers don't feel the need to hide anymore. Public smoking of cannabis is still illegal in New York, but state officials and police have been lax in their efforts to cease the spread of marijuana acceptance.
Still, in New York, smoking marijuana in public remains an arresting offense, though the policy for possessing, but not lighting, a small amount of marijuana has changed with officers issuing summonses instead of making arrests. Some people say the scent is merely another whiff of gentrification as outsiders from places with less prudish approaches to marijuana colonize hip neighborhoods and import their own social mores.