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Marijuana Arrests Decline 40 Percent in The Big Apple

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According to a new report, those smoking weed in NYC can breathe a little easier knowing the likelihood of their getting arrested for lighting up in certain areas of New York City has been significantly reduced.

Thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio, marijuana arrests in the Big Apple have declined dramatically on a year-over-year basis. Dropping nearly 40 percent from 2014’s reported incarceration numbers.

Per the New York Post, as of October 20, 2015, a reported 18,000 + pot smokers in NYC had been incarcerated over the peaceful plant; while still a big number, that figure represents a steep decline from 2014’s 29,000 + marijuana related arrests.

Unfortunately, while incarceration has declined dramatically in some areas of the city, there seems to be a lack of equity in de Blasio’s enforcement plan – seemingly based on an individual’s race, class and geographical location.

During 2014 de Blasio informed the NYC police force they were to only issue tickets to those individuals busted with less than 25 grams of pot, rather than incarcerating them. This long-overdue modification was the end result of public pressure being applied to New York’s many district attorneys. After that historic switch, the issuance of tickets for weed became the new norm for some of New York’s finest. Leading to both a dramatic drop and disparity in cannabis-related incarcerations.

One notable example of this discrepancy makes the problem painfully clear.

When compared to the predominately white section of the Bronx known as Throggs Neck (located in the 45th Precinct), Kingsbridge (located in the 52nd Precinct), and mostly Dominican, police in the 45th handed out 415 tickets for the minor possession of marijuana during the first nine months of 2015 — making just 48 arrests. Conversely, cops in the 52nd Precinct of Kingsbridge (also in the Bronx) made 720 arrests and issued 168 tickets.

No doubt, the Big Apple still has a bumpy road to hoe regarding police brutality, race relations and class warfare… but 11,000 fewer lives ruined is definitely a great place to start.

(Photo Courtesy of New York Daily News)

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