Racial Disparities Persist Among NYC Marijuana Possession Arrestees

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 28, 2018

    Cannabis PenaltiesNew York City police are continuing to disproportionately arrest African Americans and Latinos for minor marijuana possession violations, despite ongoing pledges from Mayor Bill de Blasio to halt the practice.

    In 2017, city police made an estimated 17,500 arrests for marijuana possession in the 5th degree — a class B misdemeanor. Consistent with past years, 86 percent percent of those arrested were either Black or Hispanic.

    Since the de Blasio administration took office in 2014, city police have made over 75,000 misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests; 86 percent of arrestees were either Black or Latino.

    Under state law, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is a non-arrestable offense, except instances where the police contend that the substance was either being burned or was in public view.

    During his mayoral campaign, de Blasio said that the city’s elevated marijuana arrest totals “demonstrate clear racial bias” and promised to “direct the NYPD to stop these misguided prosecutions.”

    Despite consuming cannabis at rates comparable to whites, recent analyses of marijuana arrest data from multiple states find that African Americans are consistently arrested for marijuana possession offenses at at least three times the rate of Caucasians.

    27 responses to “Racial Disparities Persist Among NYC Marijuana Possession Arrestees”

    1. Dain Bramage says:

      The Republicans, as a whole, will not help us with this problem. On the contrary, they love it! And they will seek to exacerbate the problem. Why? Because they are a white supremacist party, and you know it!

      Only one way out: register to vote. Then climb on the Big Blue Wave, and punish Trump and his racist, prohibitionist supporters, by voting out of office all Republicans, everywhere!

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        #NeverAgain vs The NRA

        Dana Loesch: We’ve had enough of the lies, the sanctimony, the arrogance, the hatred, the pettiness, the fake news…

        Sarah Chadwick: We’ve had enough of the lies, the sanctimony, the ignorance, the hatred, the pettiness, the NRA…

        NRA: We are done with your agenda to undermine voters will and individual liberty in America…

        Student: We are done with your agenda to undermine the safety of our nation’s youth and the individual voices of the American people…

        NRA: So to every lying member of the media, to every Hollywood phony…

        Student: So to every government official unwilling to take action and make change, to everyone with an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association…

        NRA: To the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents…

        Student: To the politicians who would rather watch American youth die than get assault rifles off the shelves…

        NRA: To the late night hosts who think their opinions are the only opinions that matter…

        Student: To the political lobbyists who believer their stances should be the only ones supported by legislation…

        NRA: To those who bring bias and propaganda to CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times…

        Student: To those who call high school students “paid crisis actors” and refuse to listen…

        NRA: Your time is running out

        Student: Your time is running out

        Student and NRA: The clock starts now

        • Eric says:

          Can you say, “off topic?”

          • Dain Bramage says:

            @ Eric,
            But I will say this: the NRA facilitates traitorous back-channels between Trump and Putin, which makes Trump a) a traitor; b) an American banana-republic fascist phony, installed by a hostile foreign power; c) a Putin operative; and d) a major scumbag, and a shit-stain on American Democracy.

            Obviously, marijuana legalization, and fascism in America, are mutually exclusive objectives.

            So shut the fuck up, Troll Farm!

    2. Eric says:

      i have been saying it forever, but somehow the one party gets a pass and the other doesn’t. Marijuana prohibition is the most bi-partisan policy that ever existed. Ever. Both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for it,, and both love it, equally. If not, why would Jerry Brown have opposed legalization? Why would Di Blasio not keep his promise, if he didn’t like and want it that way? Nothing better to do in NYC for a cop? White people need to vote him out.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        The Democratic Party supports legalization. The Republican Party opposes legalization. So you are incorrect, Sir.

        • Eric says:

          She me in DNC founding and steering documents, and look at the leadership, in Congress over the past 50 years and see who supports t and who doesn’t.

          Danne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, both senior members of congress from an extremely relevant area, during the first years of the Obama admin did nothing for drug law from.

          Bill Clinton Tripled the arrests for cannabis starting in 1993, look it up, and through the use of Burns’ grants, militarized the police and sheriff’s forces all over the USA.

          The Hillary Clinton campaign opposed legalization. She never wavered.

          The republicans are no better, but the Democrats have been n control of congress during all phases of increase in the “war on drugs.”

          One could argue that the GW Bush admin left the whole thing alone, as in 2001 there was one situation, and in 2009, a much, much different one. They had and have the legal right to shut all of it down, using their own manpower of course… and where are the Democrats on this one? It’s not my story that the Mayor of NYC, a major Democrat, is still allowing Black and Brown people to be arrested at much higher rates than whites, despite promises not to do so.

          You sir need to carefully examine the Democrats record on drug law reform and the War on Drugs before you tell me I’m wrong.

          I have been in the trenches for likely longer the you’ve been alive on this issue, having had to sacrifice a career in police due to my outspoken, high profile commentary on the issue, starting in the early 1990s.

          I also had to leave the country for Holland for a decade, or else I would have surely been arrested while treating my neurological problem with cannabis.

          This idea was first seriously suggested to me at the right wing religious university I attended that we would have fewer problems with these drugs, were they not illegal. In Economics class… Imagine that.

          Please be more careful when pronouncing who know what on a chat room.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Eric, you’re fucking nuts. Believe whatever you want, you fucking lunatic, but me, I am not wasting anymore of my precious time on you and your false equivalencies.

            I promise you one thing sincerely: I am a part of the Resistance. That means voting Democratic, and AGAINST ALL REPUBLICANS. If you can’t understand the necessity for that, then you are useless, and probably a Trump troll… Fuck off.

            • Eric says:


              Clearly I have bested you o this one. Just wait until any of your guys are in trouble… the governing creed of all politicians, including any you have suggested as being heroes, is…

              “It[Insert topic] was OK when I did it, but not now that I am in Charge.”

              Jerry Brown opposed legalization until the very end, even though he and GW Bush are responsie for the development of the modern dispensary system when Brown was Mayor of Oakland, or “Oaksterdam,” fro where I have been obtaining medical cannabis since 1996.

              I voted for Trump, but My vote did not count, as it was made in California. Haw haw.

              Besides he didn’t have anything to do with our current status…. The CSA? Nor the 86-87 and 91-92 ramp up. Nor the 93-99 ramp ups, which included international =fact bringing visits by the Drug Czar to the Netherlands about their cannabis policy and how it created am murder rate 2x that of the USA. Living in Amsterdam at the time, I watched as he was destroyed by the Dutch hosts of “2-Today” the after-the-main-news analysis and interview program on Dutch TV. He had to rveroto “those are interpol numbers, and I’ll stay wth those.”

              Then he, McCaffery dined with Els Borst, Dutch Minister of Health,” and in interviews thereafter she is quoted as saying that every time the subject of cannabis came up, “his eyes glazed over.” (Het Parool).

            • Dain Bramage says:

              Eric, if you feel like you “bested” me, fine; go buy yourself a beer. While you’re drinking your beer, you can sit down and write Trump a letter, and tell him all about it. Maybe he will give you a nice pat on the ass!

              Better do it soon though, because Trump is headed for prison, and the mail service in Siberian prisons ain’t so hot!

              Meantime, get the fuck out of my face, fool.

            • Dain Bramage says:

              @ Eric, I don’t think you live in California, I think you live in Russia. You probably don’t even have any weed on you! Poser.

          • Julian says:


            Read’m and weep.

            I’ll be the first to agree with you Eric that marijuana reform is bipartisan on the party identified Republican-Democratic voter level… Even though Dems far outweigh Repubs on marijuana reform… but in order to get a candidate that is truly free from pharmacuetically tainted money they have to reject PAC money… like Beto Orourke or Kristen Gillibrand… I just don’t see Republicans willing to reject PAC money to reform marijuana law on the state or national level. Thems the breaks.

            • Eric says:

              The State level is also where the drug war policies, which are mostly state level laws, are even more bi-partisa. The is because the sheriffs, County DAs, and city police-chiefs have huge and undue influence over and drug law reform, or the lack thereof, at the state level.

              These people, state politicians and local law enforcement travel in the same social circles, and they must toe-the-line to a great extent, or risk being socially ostracized and igniting opposition.

              It is much easier to get rid of a state level politician by challenging him/her in a primary and/or by funding the other party’s candidate in the state general election.

              That is why most changes at the state level had to be forced via citizen initiative, with vigorous, vehement, strategic, and tactical opposition from all politicians in office in these states, be they DAs, sheriffs, governors, Federal Senators or Congressmen and the vast majority of state legislators.

              City attorneys and county attorneys of both parties were even telling city and county fathers that they would be indicted on Federal drug and racketeering charges if they made it any easier for people to obtain “illegal drugs,” even after state citizen initiatives, if they drew up any policies.

              Only Hawaii acted at the legislative level for the first 15 years, ad they didn’t provide any true access until recently. And that is a one party state.

              Nobody who get into office doesn’t love the drug war. Until police do to have “forfeiture receipts,” as line items in their budgets for next year, little will change at the state level…meaning people will have to shove this stuff down their legislators throats with further initiatives. It is not republican vs democrat here, it is the controllers versus the controlled.

            • Dain Bramage says:

              Eric is employing the “Gish-gallop” brand of Bullshit here, where one presents a massive amount of deceptions into a short space of time, to attempt to overwhelm the truth with lies.

              It’s just noise. More Trump horseshit. Pay it no mind. Follow the truth, and it will set you free.

          • Evening Bud says:


            If you have been in the trenches, then you KNOW the GOP is far worse today on the issue than the Dems.

            You mention a Dem, Diane Feinstein, who is a prohibitionist, and you’re right. But she is one of the conservative Dems people like me are trying to get rid of. And you’re right that Dems WERE as bad as GOPers (or nearly as bad) in the past. But for the past decade, it’s the Dems who have been greasing the skids for legalization. If you refuse to acknowledge the FACTS on this, then that disqualifies your opinion.

            I challenge you Eric, to show me ONE state where the GOPers are equal to Dems in the matter of MJ legalization. ONE state. I challenge you Eric.

            • Eric says:


              On these supposed better Democrats, which of them did anything which was not simple showboating by doing something, introducing something, a supposed change, that actually had the chance of passing out-of-committee, out-of the particular House/Assembly/Senate into which it is introduced, and surviving a gubernatorial or Presidential veto?

              In other words, the Republicans voted while Obama was in office several dozen times to repeal the ACA, but when they had a Republican president and a majority in the house and senate, suddenly they didn’t really mean it.

              It doesn’t take courage nor make one party better when they introduce popular stuff which has no chance of being adopted as law or policy.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            For those listening in, remember: The Republican Party, if it ever had any legitimacy, at present, it has none. Trump is a traitor, and the GOP and its leaders is complicit.

            Trump is a traitor. We know all about it; hell, Trump can’t help rubbing it in our faces. His refusal to impose sanctions on Russia is illegal. He let Russian spies wander around the Oval Office freely, with no American press allowed. He gave them state secrets. And on, and on, and on.

            Trump is a Putin operative. It’s fucking obvious.

            Yeah, this is bigger than Watergate, bigger than McCarthy.

            So, the Republican Party is really the Putin Party, and that makes it illegitimate.

            We on the political left can criticize corporate corruption in both parties; but there is no equivalence between the Democrats and the Republicans. We Americans now only have one viable political party, and that’s the Democratic Party. At this point in history, it’s a choice between Democracy (Democrats) and Fascism (Republicans.)

            Don’t drink the Republican cool-aid!

            • Dain Bramage says:

              The significance of all this to the marijuana legalization movement is clear and readily apparent: marijuana legalization and fascism are fully incompatible, and mutually exclusive.

            • Dain Bramage says:

              I should have typed, above, “Republican KKKool-aid.” Because the enemies here are both foreign and domestic… in collusion.

          • Julian says:

            Lol… I can only imagine what Dain’s response to your cherry-picked false equivalency will be… Behold the unedited rage.
            Eric: You sir, have clearly never read the Congressional Scorecard:


            And I’m one of marijuana-reforming Republicans biggest supporters on this blog! Head to head on voting records though… even platforms aside… Democrats leave Republicans in the smoke every time.

            • Dain Bramage says:

              I don’t think Eric lives in California, I think Eric lives in Russia, and his real name is “Ivan.” Putin troll farm. No shit, I think we’re wasting time on Eric.

      • Sean says:

        You voted for Trump, so are you happy with Trump’s friend, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines? Trump has praised his pyschopathic drug war. Do you support the hangmen of Singapore? Trump does and has praised Singapore’s hangman drug policies. You voting for Trump means that you support Session’s Drug War. You are anti-cannabis pure and simple. You and your fellow gaslighting psychopathic Trumpsters will never convince me otherwise no matter how hard you try.

        • Eric says:

          @Dain Bramage

          The Russian woman whom I dated while living in the Netherlands we could call “the last Soviet patriot.” She said to me “the Soviet Union was a Great place to live,” and, after a TSA total shakedown of us both on a domestic flight in the USA,” I’ve never been through anything like that in my life.”

          So, there is your collusion… A guy Dain Bramage doesn’t understand nor respect, who voted for trump, in California, did so because of sexual favors arranged by the Trump and Kremlin 12 years in advance of the candidacy of Donald Trump.

          Yea, that’s the ticket. Put that in the Dossier.

          They don’t call it Dain Bramage for Nuthin’.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Eric, I am sorry,but I simply don’t believe you live in CA, I simply don’t. If that were true, you could easily have escaped to your Russian homeland from there. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

            Or, did you do something to piss Putin off? Are you a refugee here in America? Sanctuary?

            • Eric says:

              @ Dain Bramage

              I’m so about CA that you cannot believe it. Dad: CA Air Guard at Fresno and Victorville. 29 years as an airline pilot based in SF and LA.

              Me, I grew up 10 miles from the border in Nevada, in the eastern most bedroom community of the greater SJ-SV-SF-SAC-Lake Tahoe metropolitan area, where during my entire childhood thru high school 2/3 of the cable came from SF and SAC, the latter where I live now, as Nevada is too miserably cold. Rain here today, snow this afternoon in the sierra.

              I just spent the last decade in LA, (Westwood, Toluca Lake) where my brother, also an airline pilot, is based, after living there since 1995, where he went to UCLA Law. Other brother lived there from 1984-86.

              My mom worked for Ronald Regan in his post presidential offices in Century City, and helped with the Air Force One section of the Reagan Library.

              As for Russia, I dated a Russian woman when I lived in Holland, and we could have married and moved to Murmansk (brrr), a place I was neither prepared nor willing to go.

              I have never lived east of Tempe, AZ in the USA.

    3. Julian says:

      The root of racism in our law enforcement is hidden within bad laws like the Controlled Substances Act, which turn cops into predatory criminals through asset forfeitures, unaccountable authority, money laundering and unconstitutional coersion.
      State laws have emulated the CSAct and need changing if not nullification.
      But theres another paradox of political deception; the public lack of education on basic civics of the executive, judicial or legislative process causes us to be sloppy and assume that Congressman, state legislators, judges and law enforcement presume certain evidence of liberties and injustice to be “self-evident,” two of the most decieving words in the Constitution. It’s as if we don’t have toshow a judge the monetary damages of a black man who was disproportionately and unjustly incarcerated over some marijuana. Well, guess what, keep your reciepts; they’re evidence!
      I wonder if that was what Roger Stone was up to in his affidavit for Washington v. Sessions in NY District Court? He may have figured there aren’t any declaration of monetary damages in the Cannabis Cultural Association’s petition against the DOJ… so he can write a moving piece about how racist the CSAct was during his tenure under the Nixon administration and MAYBE liberals will forgive him for selling our Democracy to Russia back in 2015 when the racist, Ansligeresque Trump campaign began blaming Mexicans for our own failed drug policies?

      Unfortunately for Stone, Mueller isn’t blinded by such sensational drama;


      Seriously Stone, you Twittered Assange? (Hand slapping face…) I guess even the decievers get decieved…

    4. Julian says:


      SNL had a jab for disproportionate marijuana arrests in NYC. Michael Che said “%86 arrested for possession of marijuana in NYC are black and latino. The rest are black AND latino…”
      Good for SNL for calling out the hypocrisy! Lauren Michaels needs to do that more often.

      I don’t get the joke for Woody Harrelson being an airport marijuana recepticle though… Did he start smokin again? It was that interview with Bill Maher wasn’t it? Got Woody smokin weed again. Aint no shame in it Woody; just smoke a little when you feel right. Don’t let ol Willie put you to shame!

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