In 2014, New York City gave officers the discretion to issue those caught with less than 25 grams of marijuana a summons to appear, rather than arrest them. Officers can still arrest people if they are in possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana in New York City ”if the marijuana is burning, if the type of possession indicates intent to sell, if the individual has an outstanding warrant, or if the individual is in a location with special consideration, like a school.” When you compare the year-to-date marijuana arrest statistics to those from the same time last year, marijuana arrests are down significantly in New York City. Per the New York Post:
Police cuffed 18,120 stoners through Oct. 20 — a 40 percent plummet from the 29,906 pot busts in the same period last year, state Division of Criminal Justice records show.
At the same time, tickets for pot violations have surged. Cops handed out 13,081 low-level pot summonses through the end of September — and are on pace for more than 16,000 tickets. The NYPD issued 13,378 pot tickets for all of last year, and 13,316 tickets in 2013, records show.
There is some good news and bad news with these statistics. The obvious good news is that overall arrests are down. However, there are still some racial disparities in enforcement that is currently occurring. The last statistics that I saw showed that over 88% of marijuana arrests in New York City this year involved Black or Hispanic subjects. That’s actually an increase from 2014, when that number was 86.65%. Only full legalization will get rid of those disparities, which is why people in New York should keep fighting for it. There’s still a lot of work to be done!