Cities See Major Decline In Marijuana Possession Arrests

Cities See Major Decline In Marijuana Possession Arrests

New York, NY: Marijuana possession arrests are significantly declining in New York City and Washington, DC – two jurisdictions that previously led the nation in per capita cannabis arrests.

New York City police have made 40 percent fewer arrests for marijuana violations in 2015 compared to this same time last year, according to statistics released from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice. The change follows a pledge made last year by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police commissioner to reduce citywide marijuana possession arrests, which previously averaged some 30,000 per year.

Marijuana arrests in Washington, DC have also plummeted in 2015. As of November 2, District police have made only seven arrests for marijuana violations – a reduction of more than 99 percent from the previous year.

Last November, over 70 percent of District voters passed I-71, a citywide ballot measure removing criminal and civil penalties regarding the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants.

Statewide arrests for marijuana-related offenses similarly fell in Colorado and Washington following the passage of retail regulation measures in 2012. In Colorado, the total number of charges filed in Colorado courts for marijuana possession, distribution, and cultivation fell from 38,878 in 2010 to 2,036 in 2014, a reduction of some 95 percent. In Washington, the percentage of marijuana-related convictions fell more than 80 percent between the years 2011 and 2014.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.