Want to hear about a massive waste of resources? According to a new report, the NYPD has spent a million hours making 440,000 arrests for low-level possession of marijuana between 2002 and 2012. The Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, who released the report yesterday, insists that the NYPD essentially wasted a decade on something that's futile.
This information comes just as state legislative leaders in Albany are considering passing a bill that would reform drug laws. This new proposal that came from Gov. Andrew Cuomo would decriminalize small quantities of marijuana in the view of the public. At the moment, the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is a violation subject to a $100 fine.
The bulk of the arrests are young African-American and Latino men who are busted after emptying their pockets at the command of police officers during stop-and-frisk encounters. Last year, the NYPD made 39, 128 arrests for low-level marijuana possession. The report theorized that police spent 2.5 man-hours on each arrest—that amounts to 98,045 hours.
Surprisingly, both NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been supportive of Cuomo's proposal. Still, activists remain highly critical of Bloomberg's position on marijuana, noting that the NYPD has made more arrests for possession than the previous three mayors put together.