So Ray Kelly wasn't full of shit.
In March, the NYPD Commissioner reported that marijuana-related arrests had fallen in the city. Now, the New York Post has information to confirm Kelly's statement. Data shows that arrests for possession of marijuana have dropped by 20 to 30 percent in New York City this year, and police are admitting that they're falling back on weed busts to focus on more harmful drugs.
The data comes courtesy of the State Division of Criminal Justice Services. A reported 10,078 people were arrested for marijuana possession in New York City through Apr. 23; that number is down 20 percent from 2012, which experienced a 22 percent drop from 2011. A source reportedly told the Post that police are being told to "just focus on pills and cocaine."
Despite the drop in marijuana arrests, marijuana possession remained the leading reason for arrest in New York City last year. In February, Mayor Bloomberg declared that people arrested for low-level possession would no longer be held for 24 hours, they would instead receive a ticket for a desk appearance. However, they still have to go through the rigors of being handcuffed and carted around in a police vehicle.
So at least we're making some progress. Small progress, but some progress.