(A national Associated Press story on the link between the NYPD’s practice of stop and frisks and racially biased marijuana arrests features an interview with VOCAL-NY community organizer Alfredo Carrasquillo. Working with our allies at the Drug Policy Alliance and Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, VOCAL-NY recently forced the NYPD to issue new guidance clarifying existing law regarding possession of small amounts of marijuana in NYC.)
“A little pot is trouble in NYC: 50k busts a year”
COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press, JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press | Updated 09:13 a.m., Sunday, November 6, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — As the nation’s biggest city deals with threats of terrorism and a variety of violent crimes, carrying a little bit of marijuana is still a big deal.
There are more arrests for low-level pot possession in New York City — about 50,000 a year — than any other crime, accounting for about one of every seven cases that turn up in criminal courts.
It’s a phenomenon that has persisted despite more leniency toward marijuana use — the state loosened its marijuana-possession laws more than 30 years ago.
Critics say the deluge has been driven in part by the New York Police Department‘s strategy of stopping people and frisking those whom police say meet crime suspects’ descriptions. More than a half a million people, mostly black and Hispanic men, were stopped last year — unfair targets, critics say. About 10 percent of stops result in arrests.
Read the rest here.