New York City: Lowest Level Marijuana Arrests Persist Unabated

Thursday, 23 October 2014

New York City: Lowest Level Marijuana Arrests Persist Unabated

New York, NY: New York City police are continuing to make thousands of low level marijuana possession arrests despite past promises from newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio that he would direct law enforcement to end the practice.

According to 2014 arrest data compiled by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, New York City police are on pace to make more lowest level marijuana possession arrests under the first year of Mayor de Blasio's term than they did in 2013 under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As was also the case under Bloomberg, a disproportionate percentage of those arrested (86 percent) so far in 2014 are either Black or Latino.

Of those arrested, nearly three out of four possessed no prior criminal record. As in previous years, police most often arrested defendants following a stop-and-frisk search.

Although New York state law classifies minor marijuana possession offenses as a non-criminal offense, separate penal law (NY State Penal Law 221.10) defines marijuana possession in a manner that is 'open to public view' as an arrestable offense.

Full text of the report is available online from the Drug Policy Alliance at: http://www.drugpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Race-Class-NYPD-Marijuana-Arrests-Oct-2014.pdf.