On March 15, a new report was released on the steps of New York City Hall documenting the crushing costs of the 50,383 marijuana possession arrests that occurred in 2010 in that city alone, costing New York City $75 million. Released by the Drug Policy Alliance and co-authored by Queens College sociology professor Dr. Harry Levine, the report reveals the police, judicial, and human costs of New York City’s marijuana arrest crusade.
Every single day, 140 people are arrested for marijuana offenses in New York City, making it the leading cause of arrest. A full 87% of those arrested are Black or Latino, a particularly outrageous number since people of color do not use marijuana at higher rates than the rest of the population. Incredibly, the NYPD has quietly made marijuana infractions their top law enforcement priority without even a pretense of public input or debate.
Although New York decriminalized possession of under 25 grams of marijuana, possession that is "open to public view" remains a crime. Police officers have learned to ask vulnerable people they believe to be in possession to empty their pockets so they can then make an arrest.
The “suspects” do not have to be using, buying, or selling marijuana, nor do they have to be acting out in any way at all. They simply have to be “suspects.”
This flagrant abuse of state power is a tightly held secret. Please help us expose it. Stand with LEAP in supporting a more rational plan for drug policy. Our speakers are law enforcement professionals who know firsthand that the “war on drugs” is a waste of police resources. They speak out against our current drug policy in order to put police priorities back where they belong.
Help us send the message to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that using already strained police and judicial resources in this way is not acceptable and that the overwhelming racial disparity of these arrests is appalling. Please sign our petition, and please make a contribution today to support LEAP as the voice of law enforcement in drug policy reform.
Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
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