2011 was the second-highest year for marijuana arrests in New York City history, and the highest under Mayor Bloomberg’s regime. The fact that the mayor himself has admitted to smoking pot in the past didn’t stop his “private army” from tossing 50,680 people behind bars for possession of marijuana.
However, under New York law, possession of less than an ounce (for non-smokers, that’s a stuffed ziplock baggie) is a mere violation, not an arrestable offense – so how did so many people end up in jail?
According to a previous report from NYU Local:
New York City law dictates that getting caught carrying anything less than 1 ounce (around 25 grams) of marijuana is a simple violation (equivalent to a traffic citation), but only if the grass isn’t in public view – that’s when it magically and unfortunately transforms into an arrestable misdemeanor. For years, however, police officers have been straining the bounds of an already controversial “stop and frisk” law that allows them to search anybody on the street – at any time, and for any reason – by arresting offenders for bringing the marijuana out into public view when the officer orders them to.
Although Kelly instructed officers to stop with this practice, his instructions seem not to have been followed, or simply came too late. New York City remained the drug arrest capitol of the nation — with over 50,000 possibly ruined lives (and certainly ruined highs) to prove it.