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NYC Is the Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World

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The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) released a major report Tuesday showing that New York City is now the marijuana arrest capital of the world.

Harry Levine and Deborah Small, the report authors, found that between 1998 and 2007 New York City police arrested 374,900 people for low-level, misdemeanor marijuana offenses. That is more than eight times the number of arrests on the same charges for the previous ten-year period between 1988 and 1997, when 45,300 people were picked up for having small amounts of marijuana.

Researchers also found stark racial disparities in who NYPD officers chose to arrest for marijuana offenses. The report found that 83 percent of those charged in these cases were black or Latino, despite equal marijuana use between whites and non-whites. The discrepancy, the researchers asserted, is because NYPD officers stopped and frisked blacks and Latinos at a dramatically higher rate.

Once someone is convicted of a drug offense, they can lose college financial aid, food stamps, public housing and, in some cases, even voting rights. Money wasted and lives ruined ...and for what?

Mayor Bloomberg has admitted to smoking marijuana and even said he enjoyed it. It is shameful that Mayor Bloomberg is encouraging his police force to use their precious time and resources for such a destructive and ineffective policy.