Marijuana Arrests in New York City Skyrocket

NYC Drug ArrestAlice Speri writes in the NY Times’ City Room:

More people were arrested last year in New York City on charges of marijuana possession than during the entire 19-year period from 1978 to 1996, according to an analysis released this morning by the Drug Policy Alliance.

Last year, the sixth year in a row that marijuana possession arrests increased, 50,383 people were arrested, according to a report recently released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and obtained by the policy alliance, which advocates for reform of drug laws.

The figure adds up to 140 arrests a day, making marijuana possession the leading reason for arrest in the city, and represents an 8 percent increase over 2009 and a 69 percent increase since 2005, the alliance reported in a statement issued Thursday.

From 1978 to 1996, there were 49,326 marijuana possession arrests, according to an analysis for the alliance done by Harry Levine, a sociology professor at Queens College and an expert on marijuana enforcement.

The increased enforcement, the policy alliance says,  is due not to increasing consumption, but to harsher enforcement.

Read More: NY Times’ City Room

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  • Dlcohen

    Ha one of those arrests was me right there! got caught with a gram of hash outside Furthur concert at MSG, Got UPM (unlawful possession marijuana), got dismissed without ever having to go to court. the laws are super lax these days, but the enforcement is ramped up. goddamn waste of money, paying douche cops, who could be doing better things in nyc, to wrangle up carloads of hippies, just to dismiss the cases. circumvent the whole issue and just legalize rather than “decriminalize” which is what they’ve done now. and yes it is decriminalized in ny, UPM is “unlawful” but not a “criminal” offense theres a difference.

    • DeepCough

      So nothing’s really changed–instead of throwing you in jail, they fine you and collect the money. Boy, I’m glad we made progress on THIS issue.

    • E.B. Wolf

      If all you had was a gram of hash, how the hell did you manage to get caught with it?

      • DeepCough

        You don’t need to be a drug-sniffing dog to smell a gram of hash from a fuck-mile away.

        • E.B. Wolf

          But it’s tiny and malleable. Smelling it is one thing, finding it is another. They can’t strip search you unless you’re already under arrest.
          I don’t mean to come off like I’m bashing you. I was foolish enough to get busted with a dime bag in my pocket when I was 17. I hate hearing about people getting popped when they could have avoided having their stash found with a little ingenuity and pre-planning. So next time:
          1. wear jeans. Behind the zipper on the inside, make a small slice along the denim mash your hash flat and hide it behind there. The zipper will make it less noticeable on the off chance that you do get the odd cop who isn’t averse to groping your junk.
          2. Leather jackets are great for stashing small stuff. Make a small hole in an inside pocket. take your stash, push it through the hole in the pocket into the sleeve behind the lining, and work it down to the cuff of the sleeve. Most leather jackets have zippers on the cuffs. They’re ideal for hiding small bulges that cops look for.
          3. If you’re a longtime head, you should be familiar with pat down procedures. Most cops don’t check right between your shoulder blades, so adding a small stash pocket there works pretty well. Also, if you’re a guy with long hair, you can use a small rubber band to attach your stash to a lock of hair underneath. Most cops, being the macho jock types that go for that line of work, wouldn’t be caught dead running their hands through another dude’s hair.
          4. Boots are another great article of clothing to make stash spots in.
          5. It’s always a good idea when going out to a show, club, or bar to only bring what you intend to smoke. Leave the rest at home.

          • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

            When I was younger and still indulged, I showed your exemplary level of caution. It pays to be just a little paranoid and put in that extra effort. When I think of all the times I was having a chat with a cop during a stop…while something highly illegal was about my person…and they never bothered to search…I want to laugh maniacally. But a little caution and a positive attitude while talking to cops allowed me to make it through my ‘party friendly’ years without ever getting busted (and thank goodness for that…I’ve got too many friends who did time for essentially being young and stupid…but harmless to others.)

          • E.B. Wolf

            I’ve had a few of those moments. I can remember getting pulled over at about 3 a.m. with three friends in the car and plenty of contraband. My buddy was driving this old jalopy with a paint job that we could only describe as “gonorrhea green.” He was going to pass us, looked over at four twenty somethings dressed all in black, then dropped back and pulled us over. After a polite, twenty minute search of the car and our persons, he said,”Frankly, I’m a little disappointed. I figured pulling over a car full of kids that looked like yourselves, I would have found something illegal.”
            It was an ongoing joke amongst us for years. “Frankly we’re disappointed officer. There was plenty to be found.”

      • Other Mr. T

        How? You smoke the shit, in front of them and blow the smoke in their faces, while calling them names and saying that cops are overpaid, stupid, useless dirty sons of bitches, chump! That’s how!!!

        • E.B. Wolf

          That only happened once, and just because he had a badge didn’t give him the right to Bogart the joint.

    • Other Mr. T

      UPM, code5, etc is a right of passage in NYC for anyone growing up here. Everyone knows that you’ll get your case dismissed or ACD if you don’t contest. A possession case going to trial costs the city a minimum of $5,000 per process, all municipal $, since most defendants will need a tax payer paid for public defender and there are legal filing requirements – do the math. Police technocrats are out of control, NYPD is NOT under civilian control. NYPD is the biggest financial burden to NYC and NYS annual budgets. NYPD settles dozens of police brutality and various other lawsuits for tens of millions of dollars EVERY YEAR, this is all secret, btw. NYPD does not generate revenue, inspite of vast funds they recieve from Federal and state government for their “war on terror” and “war on drugs”.

  • Dlcohen

    Ha one of those arrests was me right there! got caught with a gram of hash outside Furthur concert at MSG, Got UPM (unlawful possession marijuana), got dismissed without ever having to go to court. the laws are super lax these days, but the enforcement is ramped up. goddamn waste of money, paying douche cops, who could be doing better things in nyc, to wrangle up carloads of hippies, just to dismiss the cases. circumvent the whole issue and just legalize rather than “decriminalize” which is what they’ve done now. and yes it is decriminalized in ny, UPM is “unlawful” but not a “criminal” offense theres a difference.

  • MoralDrift

    How much does the city make on these fines?

  • Anonymous

    How much does the city make on these fines?

  • DeepCough

    So nothing’s really changed–instead of throwing you in jail, they fine you and collect the money. Boy, I’m glad we made progress on THIS issue.

  • rtb61

    It is an easy quota arrest. It is the insane Republican pursuit of a performance based system for everything which is enormously damaging in areas where it makes no sense. In focusing on drugs, they ignore other crimes which remain unsolved. A police officer can not be both, maintaining an arrest quota and investigating serious crimes against persons.
    The whole of the police force should be working as a cohesive team to solve crimes against persons, not pursuing pointless quotas and covering up more serious crimes because it makes an incompetant mayor look bad.
    Performance systems fail in many other areas, in education as a teacher is not responsible for the genetics of their students so they can not achieve grade quotas without controlling which students are allowed in their classes (oh, look charter schools), it does not work in the military unless they start killing innocent people at random (well let’s not mention Iraq), it fails in prison where it is measured as dollars per prisoner (for profit prison with shocking re-offending rates, zero focus on rehabilitation), it does not work for fire departments as they can’t ensure a quota of fires put out unless they start them (you have been warned) and, it doesn’t work for politicians (hey, wait a second, hmm, payments upon promises kept and penalties for failures).
    So it would work with one lot but they seem in no hurray at all to subject themselves to performance based wages, lying deceitful bunch of self serving ass hats.

  • Anonymous

    It is an easy quota arrest. It is the insane Republican pursuit of a performance based system for everything which is enormously damaging in areas where it makes no sense. In focusing on drugs, they ignore other crimes which remain unsolved. A police officer can not be both, maintaining an arrest quota and investigating serious crimes against persons.
    The whole of the police force should be working as a cohesive team to solve crimes against persons, not pursuing pointless quotas and covering up more serious crimes because it makes an incompetant mayor look bad.
    Performance systems fail in many other areas, in education as a teacher is not responsible for the genetics of their students so they can not achieve grade quotas without controlling which students are allowed in their classes (oh, look charter schools), it does not work in the military unless they start killing innocent people at random (well let’s not mention Iraq), it fails in prison where it is measured as dollars per prisoner (for profit prison with shocking re-offending rates, zero focus on rehabilitation), it does not work for fire departments as they can’t ensure a quota of fires put out unless they start them (you have been warned) and, it doesn’t work for politicians (hey, wait a second, hmm, payments upon promises kept and penalties for failures).
    So it would work with one lot but they seem in no hurray at all to subject themselves to performance based wages, lying deceitful bunch of self serving ass hats.

  • Pete

    Peace, Love and Understanding ….. I get it.

    But how can we put an end to this INSANITY? If we can put thousands of people in the street and all of us light up….what can they do?

  • Pete

    Peace, Love and Understanding ….. I get it.

    But how can we put an end to this INSANITY? If we can put thousands of people in the street and all of us light up….what can they do?

  • E.B. Wolf

    If all you had was a gram of hash, how the hell did you manage to get caught with it?

  • DeepCough

    You don’t need to be a drug-sniffing dog to smell a gram of hash from a fuck-mile away.

  • E.B. Wolf

    But it’s tiny and malleable. Smelling it is one thing, finding it is another. They can’t strip search you unless you’re already under arrest.
    I don’t mean to come off like I’m bashing you. I was foolish enough to get busted with a dime bag in my pocket when I was 17. I hate hearing about people getting popped when they could have avoided having their stash found with a little ingenuity and pre-planning. So next time:
    1. wear jeans. Behind the zipper on the inside, make a small slice along the denim mash your hash flat and hide it behind there. The zipper will make it less noticeable on the off chance that you do get the odd cop who isn’t averse to groping your junk.
    2. Leather jackets are great for stashing small stuff. Make a small hole in an inside pocket. take your stash, push it through the hole in the pocket into the sleeve behind the lining, and work it down to the cuff of the sleeve. Most leather jackets have zippers on the cuffs. They’re ideal for hiding small bulges that cops look for.
    3. If you’re a longtime head, you should be familiar with pat down procedures. Most cops don’t check right between your shoulder blades, so adding a small stash pocket there works pretty well. Also, if you’re a guy with long hair, you can use a small rubber band to attach your stash to a lock of hair underneath. Most cops, being the macho jock types that go for that line of work, wouldn’t be caught dead running their hands through another dude’s hair.
    4. Boots are another great article of clothing to make stash spots in.
    5. It’s always a good idea when going out to a show, club, or bar to only bring what you intend to smoke. Leave the rest at home.

  • Other Mr. T

    How? You smoke the shit, in front of them and blow the smoke in their faces, while calling them names and saying that cops are overpaid, stupid, useless dirty sons of bitches, chump! That’s how!!!

  • Other Mr. T

    UPM, code5, etc is a right of passage in NYC for anyone growing up here. Everyone knows that you’ll get your case dismissed or ACD if you don’t contest. A possession case going to trial costs the city a minimum of $5,000 per process, all municipal $, since most defendants will need a tax payer paid for public defender and there are legal filing requirements – do the math. Police technocrats are out of control, NYPD is NOT under civilian control. NYPD is the biggest financial burden to NYC and NYS annual budgets. NYPD settles dozens of police brutality and various other lawsuits for tens of millions of dollars EVERY YEAR, this is all secret, btw. NYPD does not generate revenue, inspite of vast funds they recieve from Federal and state government for their “war on terror” and “war on drugs”.

  • Other Mr. T

    UPM, code5, etc is a right of passage in NYC for anyone growing up here. Everyone knows that you’ll get your case dismissed or ACD if you don’t contest. A possession case going to trial costs the city a minimum of $5,000 per process, all municipal $, since most defendants will need a tax payer paid for public defender and there are legal filing requirements – do the math. Police technocrats are out of control, NYPD is NOT under civilian control. NYPD is the biggest financial burden to NYC and NYS annual budgets. NYPD settles dozens of police brutality and various other lawsuits for tens of millions of dollars EVERY YEAR, this is all secret, btw. NYPD does not generate revenue, inspite of vast funds they recieve from Federal and state government for their “war on terror” and “war on drugs”.

  • E.B. Wolf

    That only happened once, and just because he had a badge didn’t give him the right to Bogart the joint.

  • Sandra Williams

    Prisons are a state entity and by law, should be public institutions BUT Gotta keep the shareholders and upper mgmt at the private prisons — what an undemocratic disgrace — happy! Turn your prisons into a private (=facist) money driven enterprise where the only goal is to keep increasing shareholder returns, company profit and bonuses can only be done by getting more and more prisoners monthly and annually. Prisons exist just to make money for everyone but the prisoners. They will do anything and I mean anything to help these rotten corporations make money. That’s why pot won’t be legalized. More people are in prison for non violent pot charges that any other crime. Crime is way down, especially in NYC so it’s a ruse to get more numbers/bodies into private prisons. Remember, WE THE PEOPLE ARE THEIR ONLY PRODUCT. And to think of all the backhanded ways Gore and Clinton were putting this is place with help from a #1 Wall Street firm and they were all celebrating “how much money we will all make at one of the hottest places in Manhattan! Why Gore’s assistant was promised a free harvard education if she would help him. All these sycophants for Rockefeller and his Council of Foreign Relations. The CFR is the shadow government since all candidates, presidents, cabinet positions, CEOs, even George Clooney belong to it and adhere to its secrecy policies of no verbal nor written words to anyone. Isn’t that illegal under the Logan Act? It has no place in a republic that’s for sure. Our government is run by the CFR that’s why what they people want by overwhelmimg majority never win. That’s why every democratic presidential candidate promises ending tax cuts for the rich, getting the people the free pass (?) union law passed, ending the wars a la Dr. Jekrl then turning into Mr. Hyde after the election to the center, than right, than right right. How very, very sad this state of affairs is.

  • Sandra Williams

    Prisons are a state entity and by law, should be public institutions BUT Gotta keep the shareholders and upper mgmt at the private prisons — what an undemocratic disgrace — happy! Turn your prisons into a private (=facist) money driven enterprise where the only goal is to keep increasing shareholder returns, company profit and bonuses can only be done by getting more and more prisoners monthly and annually. Prisons exist just to make money for everyone but the prisoners. They will do anything and I mean anything to help these rotten corporations make money. That’s why pot won’t be legalized. More people are in prison for non violent pot charges that any other crime. Crime is way down, especially in NYC so it’s a ruse to get more numbers/bodies into private prisons. Remember, WE THE PEOPLE ARE THEIR ONLY PRODUCT. And to think of all the backhanded ways Gore and Clinton were putting this is place with help from a #1 Wall Street firm and they were all celebrating “how much money we will all make at one of the hottest places in Manhattan! Why Gore’s assistant was promised a free harvard education if she would help him. All these sycophants for Rockefeller and his Council of Foreign Relations. The CFR is the shadow government since all candidates, presidents, cabinet positions, CEOs, even George Clooney belong to it and adhere to its secrecy policies of no verbal nor written words to anyone. Isn’t that illegal under the Logan Act? It has no place in a republic that’s for sure. Our government is run by the CFR that’s why what they people want by overwhelmimg majority never win. That’s why every democratic presidential candidate promises ending tax cuts for the rich, getting the people the free pass (?) union law passed, ending the wars a la Dr. Jekrl then turning into Mr. Hyde after the election to the center, than right, than right right. How very, very sad this state of affairs is.

  • Gawdless

    Seems like New York would be a progressive state in the marijuana laws.

  • Gawdless

    Seems like New York would be a progressive state in the marijuana laws.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    this is a nice example of two prevailing trends crashing into each other. Despite what pro-pot pro legalization fans like to say…consumption is up…somewhat…and the shifting social attitude toward pot has made users slightly more open about their habit.

    Now crash that Willie Nelson Tour Bus face first into an era of fiscally strapped local government and law enforcement agencies with an already firmly entrenched prison industry to keep afloat…and you have a perfect storm of incarcerating and harassing non-violent offenders for easy profit.

    I can’t even begin to imagine the moral shuffling of priorities it takes for people to view heightened enforcement against marijuana as a good thing. If we declared a war on rape and worked billions into the system to prevent rape, enforce laws, and incarcerate rapists for longer periods of time…the only people upset about would be rapists. Its like watching a multimillion dollar paid athlete hit the field and suddenly play a round of tiddlywinks because he felt that it was more important than the game he’s supposed to be paid for. In any other case…we’d fire the losers who wasted our time and money…but here we are…watching law enforcement ‘double down’ and go for broke, chasing the pot heads instead of reducing real crime.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    this is a nice example of two prevailing trends crashing into each other. Despite what pro-pot pro legalization fans like to say…consumption is up…somewhat…and the shifting social attitude toward pot has made users slightly more open about their habit.

    Now crash that Willie Nelson Tour Bus face first into an era of fiscally strapped local government and law enforcement agencies with an already firmly entrenched prison industry to keep afloat…and you have a perfect storm of incarcerating and harassing non-violent offenders for easy profit.

    I can’t even begin to imagine the moral shuffling of priorities it takes for people to view heightened enforcement against marijuana as a good thing. If we declared a war on rape and worked billions into the system to prevent rape, enforce laws, and incarcerate rapists for longer periods of time…the only people upset about would be rapists. Its like watching a multimillion dollar paid athlete hit the field and suddenly play a round of tiddlywinks because he felt that it was more important than the game he’s supposed to be paid for. In any other case…we’d fire the losers who wasted our time and money…but here we are…watching law enforcement ‘double down’ and go for broke, chasing the pot heads instead of reducing real crime.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    When I was younger and still indulged, I showed your exemplary level of caution. It pays to be just a little paranoid and put in that extra effort. When I think of all the times I was having a chat with a cop during a stop…while something highly illegal was about my person…and they never bothered to search…I want to laugh maniacally. But a little caution and a positive attitude while talking to cops allowed me to make it through my ‘party friendly’ years without ever getting busted (and thank goodness for that…I’ve got too many friends who did time for essentially being young and stupid…but harmless to others.)

  • E.B. Wolf

    I’ve had a few of those moments. I can remember getting pulled over at about 3 a.m. with three friends in the car and plenty of contraband. me buddy was driving this old jalopy with a paint job that we could only describe as “gonorrhea green.” He was going to pass us, looked over at four twenty somethings dressed all in black, then dropped back and pulled us over. After a polite, twenty minute search of the car and our persons, he said,”Frankly, I’m a little disappointed. I figured pulling over a car full of kids that looked like yourselves, I would have found something illegal.”
    It was an ongoing joke amongst us for years. “Frankly we’re disappointed officer. There was plenty to be found.”