Oh New York, New York! Home of Sinatra, the Knicks, and Broadway. For many it’s the greatest city in the world…if you’re hoping to get arrested for marijuana possession. According to recently released figures from the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, small level marijuana arrests totaled 50, 383 in 2010. That’s 15% of all arrests. I know, I’m not smoking a blunt along 32nd street again either. Find out more about the marijuana arrests after the jump.
When you do the math, and thankfully, they did, all the small time arrests mean that, on average, 150 people are arrested every single day in New York City for minor marijuana violations. This isn’t because more people are getting high more often either:
This dramatic rise in marijuana arrests is not the result of increased marijuana use, which peaked nationally around 1980 according to data collected by the U.S. government. Over the last twenty years, NYPD has quietly made arrests for marijuana their top enforcement priority, without public acknowledgment or debate. This is the sixth year in a row with an increase in marijuana possession arrests. In 2005, there were 29,752 such arrests, and in 2010, there were 50,383, a 41 percent increase. Since Michael Bloomberg came into office in 2002, there have been 350,000 arrests for low-level marijuana offenses in NYC.
If you talk to any of the people that have grown up around New York, a lot of them will blame Giuliani for the racial profiling and the change from gritty urban setting to the materialistic New York of the romantic comedy type (some appreciate him for it–others miss the good ol’ days of hookers and casual heroine use in Times Square). Without drawing too many parallels between the changes New York has undergone with casual marijuana use, it’s actually Mayor Bloomberg who is primarily responsible with the casual marijuana Jihad.
“New York has made more marijuana arrests under Bloomberg than any mayor in New York City history,” said Dr. Harry Levine, a Sociology professor at Queens College and the nation’s leading expert on marijuana arrests. “Bloomberg’s police have arrested more people for marijuana than Mayors Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani combined. These arrests cost tens of millions of dollars every year, and introduce tens of thousands of young people into our broken criminal justice system.”
Aside from how awesome a title: “nation’s leading expert on marijuana arrests” is, Bloomberg is obviously not a fan of the sticky icky. But 150 arrests a day is insane. There are murderers and rapists running around.
150 also seems so outrageously high when you consider the stretch along 28th street between 5th and 6th avenue where the Rasta’s light up with such frequency you can get a contact high just strolling south of the Garment District.
Next time I see Bloomberg on TV or in person, I’m giving him a little angry bird hate.