Low-level marijuana arrests in New York City are down 44 percent over 2014, according to statistics obtained by Vice.com. The figures, which were based on police records from January 1st through September 30th, show that the NYPD made 12,530 arrests for fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana. For the same period in 2014, 22,225 were arrested for the same class B misdemeanor.
The downward trend can, at least in part, be attributed to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to de-emphasize low‐level marijuana arrests, which has resulted in a ticket rather than arrest for people who are caught with 25 grams of pot or less. However, while the overall numbers are down, blacks and Hispanics are still disproportionately arrested for possession. As Vice’s Olivia Becker reports:
Of the 22,225 arrests made in the first nine months of 2014, 86 percent — more than 19,000 people — were African-American or Hispanic. That’s up to 88 percent so far in 2015. Of the 12,530 people cuffed by the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies in New York City for having a small amount of weed this year, more than 11,000 were black or Hispanic.