Cannabis arrests are down significantly this year in New York City, following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call for law enforcement to give citations to those possessing small amounts of cannabis rather than arresting and charging them with a criminal offense.
Through the end of October, there have been just over 18,000 cannabis-related arrests in New York City. This is down from the over 29,000 arrests made during the same period last year, which is an overall decrease of nearly 40%, according to data from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice.
Under new rules put forth by de Blasio, cops are suppose to ticket individuals possessing up to 25 grams of cannabis, rather than automatically arresting them. Although this policy has clearly had a major impact, with an over 40% drop in cannabis arrests after just one year, there is still a huge discrepancy in how law enforcement is enforcing the law.
For example the New York Post points out that in the Bronx neighborhood of Throggos Neck, police arrested just 48 people for cannabis while handing out over 400 cannabis tickets. In the precinct of Kingsrbidge, however, there was over 700 cannabis arrests made compared to just 168 tickets.
The takeaway is that the new policy by Mayor de Blasio is a large step in the right direction, but fails to fully prevent people from having their lives negatively and permanently effected by being arrested for possessing a substance that shouldn’t be illegal.