The ebb and flow of marijuana arrests in The Big Apple continue. . .
Purportedly working to lose their “marijuana arrest capital of the world” moniker – and after successfully cutting their weed-related arrests by 75% between 2013 and 2014 – New York’s 2016 marijuana arrest rate shot up by 29% when compared to the first six months of 2015.
Hit particularly hard during this surge of chronic arrests – minorities.
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.
New York City’s first-ever medical cannabis dispensary will open this January right off of Union Square.
The dispensary, which will be located on 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues, will be run by Columbia Care, one of five companies that recently received a license from the New York Department of Health to distribute cannabis and cannabis-based medicines to qualified medical cannabis patients.
New York State allows for the medicinal use cannabis under the 2014 Compassionate Care Act.
Although misdemeanor cannabis arrests have been down significantly this year in New York City compared to the same period in 2014, a stark racial disparity still occurs among those that are arrested.
In total, there was 2,960 misdemeanor cannabis arrests between January and March of this year, down from 7,110 during the same period last year. Among those arrested, 50.47% were African-American and 38.18% were Hispanic, with just 7.7% considered white. 2.67% of those arrested were listed as Asian or Indian.
NYC Council 2015 Policy Agenda Urges State Legislature to Fix New York’s Broken Marijuana Policies
This week, the New York City Council called for the state of New York to pass historic legislation to both decriminalize and to tax and regulate marijuana. As part of the Council’s State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the 2015-2016 legislative session, the New York City Council urged the state legislature to pass two historic marijuana policy reforms – the Fairness and Equity Act and the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA). The Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito had previously announced her support for marijuana legalization in November, but this marks the first time that marijuana decriminalization and legalization have been part of the Council’s official legislative agenda.
Cannabis arrests in New York City are down over 75% in December compared to the same time last year. In total there were 460 cannabis arrests last month, compared to 1,820 in December, 2013. The arrest are down due to a change in the way the city handles minor cannabis possession cases, which was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in November.
“Since the inception of our policy in 2014, marijuana enforcement activity is trending down in all categories”, Deputy Chief Kim Royster told the Associated Press.
A new policy decriminalizing the public display of up to 25 grams of cannabis is now in effect in New York City, as of Wednesday, November 19th. The new policy was put forth by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Under New York State law, the possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis is a ticketable, not an arrestable offense. However, for years police in New York City have continued to make thousands of misdemeanor cannabis charges annually, based on cannabis being in public display (which in most all instances was due to police forcing people on the streets to empty their pockets).
Advocates Applaud Speaker Mark-Viverito for Being the “Standard Bearer” for Progressive Marijuana Policies
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced her support for marijuana legalization at the November pre-stated meeting. Speaker Mark –Viverito joins a growing list of elected officials coming out in support of marijuana legalization, including New York City council members Stephen Levin, Jumaane Williams, Rafael Espinal, and more recently Mark Levine.
At a press conference this afternoon, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce that the city’s police department will no longer arrest individuals for low-level cannabis possession, and will instead issue tickets.
The announce will come less than three weeks after a report was released, finding that discriminatory cannabis arrests have continued under Mayor de Blasio, who was elected in 2013. The report found that since de Blasio took office, the number of cannabis arrests are set to equal, or even surpass the rate of arrests under Mayor Bloomberg.
“High, NYC” Campaign aims to Mobilize an NYC Marijuana Community in Advance of Legalization
Weedmaps, the leading listings and review site for marijuana dispensaries, today announces the launch of its New York City marijuana resource website, weedmaps.com/nyc, which is being publicized with a 26-by-20 foot electronic billboard in Time Square, the Big Apple’s first mainstream marijuana advertisement. With the tagline “High, NYC,” the website and advertisement aim to bring about awareness of and mobilize a community for marijuana in advance of its legalization in New York City.