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2011 New York City Marijuana Arrests Even Higher Than Previous Year

February 3, 2012   ·   0 Comments

Last September, after activists brought attention to the fact that New York City is the misdemeanor marijuana arrest capital of the United States despite marijuana being “decriminalized,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly directed the NYPD to respect the rules of “stop and frisk” and not charge those found with marijuana in their possession with a criminal charge unless the marijuana is in plain view or being smoked. New York cops have traditionally gotten around this rule by tricking people being frisked into exposing their marijuana. Research has shown that this ploy is used far more on minorities in New York City, despite higher use rates among whites.

Kelly’s statements were admirable and at first seemed to work. For the first several months, marijuana arrests in the city dropped.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, however, the total number of marijuana arrests for 2011 is actually greater than the previous year!

How could this be? Was there an explosion in marijuana use in New York City in the last year that led to more arrests? Doubtful.

Did some members of the NYPD simply ignore the Commissioner and carry on with their illegal, racist enforcement tactics? Probably.

Let’s see what Commissioner Kelly had to say:

“The numbers are what they are, based on situations officers encounter in the street,” Kelly said at an unrelated press conference Wednesday. “It’s very difficult to quantify whether or not what’s happening [out there\],” he said.

The first sentence does not make a lot of sense and would require a massive increase in the number of people openly using marijuana to explain the arrest numbers.

The second sentence … isn’t even a sentence, much less a statement.

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