New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is joined by...

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is joined by fellow council members during a news conference at City Hall on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Thursday that she supports the legalization of marijuana, splitting from ally Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Obviously, there's been a lot of conversation nationally. There's been a lot of referendums that have happened and states are speaking," she said at City Hall.

Colorado and Washington state have legalized the drug for recreational use.

While announcing an NYPD shift in policy Monday that would give police officers the discretion to issue summonses rather than arrest people found with up to 25 grams of marijuana, de Blasio pointed to "real challenges" the two states have had with implementation.

"I don't think anyone should rush to judgment until we see the real experience, over years, in those states," he said. "So, I am not comfortable with the notion of legalization."

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton is firmly opposed, saying he doesn't favor legalization "under any circumstance."

After a City Hall meeting Thursday with de Blasio and Bratton, the city's district attorneys said they're concerned that the policy, which goes into effect Wednesday, could clog the court system.

"The end result I'm just fearful of is that we're going to end up with a lot of bench warrants out there and a lot of people being arrested as a result," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. "That concern was expressed at the table."

Mark-Viverito, of East Harlem, said she has concerns about how the policy will be implemented at the "street level."

Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) said the policy is progress, but not progressive. He said he believes young black and Latino men charged with possession will be now subjected to a different form of discrimination through summonses.

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