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The Call Blog: Report Finds No Change In Marijuana Arrests Under Mayor De Blasio

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The statistics that the Marijuana Arrest Research Project released were pretty astounding, especially the neighborhood breakdown. As City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said last month at a City Council hearing with the NYPD, I believe there needs to be some kind of policy change in New York City. Yes, a high number of these arrests are happening in neighborhoods and precincts that have higher crime than others, but 16 arrests in the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side versus 500 in East New York and 392 in Morris Heights is farcical.

Your thoughts and comments are posted below.

On the campaign trail, candidate Bill de Blasio promised to reduce the number of arrests for low-level marijuana possession, especially in predominately black and Hispanic neighborhoods. But during the first four months of the year, an analysis of crime statistics by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project found Commissioner Bill Bratton's NYPD is mirroring the policing tactics of Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The report found police arrested an average of 80 people a day for possessing small amounts of marijuana this year, compared to 78 in 2013. And blacks and Latinos made up 86% of those arrested this year, compared to 87% last year. In addition, police made just eight possession arrests on Manhattan's Upper East Side and eight on the Upper West Side, compared to 500 in East New York, Brooklyn.

Have you noticed a change in policing tactics since Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton took office? Do you feel the NYPD targets certain neighborhoods when it comes to marijuana arrests? What's your reaction to police arresting 16 people on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side during the first four months of the year?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

You didn't really expect this reduction to take place, did you? We supposedly live in a free country where we have constitutionally protected rights to freedom and property. So where did the powers that be get the idea that it's okay to force citizens to inhale, imbibe or inject anything deemed "good," or prohibit citizens from inhaling, imbibing or inject anything "deemed bad"? That's fascism, not freedom.

Port Richmond

I have to laugh -- the mean old "conservative" Michael Bloomberg was "obviously" showing all kinds of prejudice when marijuana arrests soared in minority neighborhoods -- and now the same thing goes on under Mr. Liberal himself, Mayor De Blasio. Can it be that the right-wing "racist" conspiracy is wider than anyone thought? Or is it just that the arrests are justified? Either way, De Blasio's fellow liberals will find a way to blame it on the ruling 1%, whoever they are.

Upper West Side

I do notice that we have two cops walking up and down the avenue in my neighborhood. I have not seen this in the last administration. So then maybe the count is correct about the arrests being made for marijuana possession. The neighborhood is what it is. The bottom line is to cut down the crime in the different neighborhoods. The other thing that could have happened is that everyone was so sure of them passing the bill and they became laxed and just took it for granted that they could already start smoking it. Also last week some of the tenants that have been living in the NYCHA housing development made calls in reference to their idea about bringing back the NYCHA police force to patrol the halls because they have many problems in the hallways. They do know about it first hand because they live it every day. It seems as though people in this administration want to change all the rules to lower the standards of arrests and education.
That's not the way to handle it.

Morris Park

Marijuana should only be used for medical use, if the people that were arrested were smoking it for pleasure they should be arrested Mayor Diblasio and Commisoner Bratton are doing a excellent job

Upper West Side

Playing the race card again. They will limit the amount of arrest in black and hispanic neighborhoods. Does that mean they will increase arrests in white neighborhoods? Asian? Get lost, America people do not have time for this politically motivated tactic by our race baiting politicians. These race baiters will destroy our school system, our neighborhoods, and ultimately create a welfare state.

Park Hill

I would be thrilled if the police started arresting more people for marijuana in my neighborhood--the stench is awful. And if you don't like the prospect of being arrested, the don't break the law! Is that so difficult to grasp?

Upper East Side

Do you think the people using drugs are good people? They are buying an illegal substance from drug dealers that are often dangerous criminals. What about all the deaths from drug wars and other issues? Plus we cry when it gets into kids hands.


I think if you really want to make arrests of more white men, you'd have to go searching indoors and not street corners. And that would be something way beyond stop & frisk!

Richmond Hill

Discussing weed while we have people dying every day from heroin is a distraction from a much more serious problem.


The reason the Dante De Blasio ads were so effective was because they showed the Mayor as someone with a vested interest in putting an end to Stop and Frisk, since his own child fit into the demographic most likely to be stopped and frisked. Knowing his daughter's admitted history of using illicit drugs, he should also have a vested interest in stopping these disproportionate marijuana arrests. However, there is another vested interest, since it mostly minorities who live in the New York Housing Authority, by giving minority youths an arrest record at an early age it is a way to move families out of the projects. If people no longer live in the projects then real estate developers can tear them down and build more luxury condos.

Kew Gardens

If the cops really want to bust some heavy-duty pot smokers, they should come to Stuyvesant Town where students (mostly white) smoke on and off the premises all the time. There is practically a cloud of weed smoke hanging over the project since it became a NYU dorm.

Stuyvesant Town

The other night a few guys were playing loud music and drinking at 3:40 am outside of my building I had to work next day and called the police, the operator ask for a description and automatically ask: are they black or latino?


The problem is not who is being targeted. The problem is that we are ignoring the increase in marihuana use when it is not for medical purpose. What are the rights for those who do not smoke marijuana and are subjected to the disgusting odor. What message are we sending our children? As a society why are we not focusing in why and how to decrease the use? The police are doing their job in order to keep our neighborhoods safe. This is not about discrimination. If you must smoke it do at home?

Upper West Side

It makes no sense how a state and city government could legalize a drug substance that the federal government identifies as a dangerous and illegal drug substance. Second Hand smoke endangers the safety and welfare of other people (including children), and any substance not regulated by the government could contain rat poison for all we know.

Staten Island

Want to remove the criminal element from drug use? If the government sells drugs, including pot, we can then remove the profit motive that drives the gangs by undercutting them on price, while simultaneously monitoring individual use, encouraging people who are abusing drugs to avail themselves of free treatment, paid for by revenue from sales. Drug abuse is a sickness requiring treatment, not incarceration. Our jails are overflowing. Lives are being ruined. Long sentences are costly to society, and are clearly not a deterrent to drug-related crime. It's time to try something radically different.


It is unbelievable to me that we are still having this conversation. If you abide by the law, you will not be stopped, pulled over or arrested. End of story.

Brooklyn Heights

As a Latino man, I applaud what the police are doing because marihuana users that do so in the street create an unsafe environment. They smoke and act like they own the neighborhood. They start fights, which is the reason why police have to more policing. The problem is our neighborhoods. Public marijuana users have no respect for children and mothers. Why don't they just do it at home?

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