1:49 pm, 12/09/2011
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In the nine week period after New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered cops to stop making illegal weed busts, arrests for marijuana possession fell by 13%, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Unfortunately, 77% of a lot is still a lot. The city remains on pace to make over 50,000 arrests for marijuana possession this year, disproportionately of young blacks and Latinos. These arrests can lead to losses of financial aid, child custody rights and public housing eligibility, not to mention fines, court dates, and possible jail time.
“Unfortunately, these figures are cause for outrage, not celebration,” said Gabriel Sayegh, state director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “In this economy, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD are wasting millions of tax dollars by using illegal searches and false charges to sweep tens of thousands of Black and Latino youth into the criminal justice system. Even with this drop, more people have still been arrested for small amounts of marijuana in 2011 then in same period in 2010.
Basically you’re ok on New Years
WNYC spoke to Josue Morel, 19, who was arrested for displaying marijuana in his hand. Since 1977, possession of less than 25 grams of concealed marijuana for personal use has been a non-criminal offense, subject to a maximum fine of $100. According to Morel, though, the dank in question was not unconcealed until officers removed it from his shirt during a stop and frisk.
Sadly, this seems to be all too common in New York City: low level, frequently illegal marijuana arrests in high crime, low-income neighborhoods as a result of the city’s stop and frisk policy. And as a result of that, over 85% of marijuana arrests in the city are of blacks and Latinos, even though young white people are more frequent users.
So, you know, there’s that.