Race, Class and Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio's Two New Yorks: the NYPD's Marijuana Arrest Crusade Continues in 2014

October 20, 2014
Drug Policy Alliance | Marijuana Arrest Research Project

A new report documents shows that, despite campaign promises made in 2013, marijuana possession arrests under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under his predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The report includes extensive analysis of marijuana arrest and income data, showing  that overall, low income and middle class communities of color face dramatically higher rates of marijuana possession arrests than do white communities of every class bracket. Most of those arrested are young men of color, even though young white men use marijuana at higher rates. Nearly 75% of the people arrested for marijuana possession in 2014 have never been convicted of even a single misdemeanor, and only 11% have a misdemeanor conviction. The report draws on data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and concludes that despite a change in mayoral administrations and police commissioners, the NYPD continues its established practice of making wasteful, racially biased, and costly marijuana arrests.

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