People of Color Are Still Disproportionately Targeted for Cannabis Arrests in New York, Despite Legalization on the Horizon

New York legalized marijuana this year but the NYPD continued to make pot-related arrests, according to fresh data released this month.

The figures show that police in America’s largest city made 163 marijuana arrests in the first quarter of 2021 across the five boroughs, with the overwhelming majority involving people of color. Seventy-eight of those arrests involved black individuals, with 70 involving Hispanics. Only six of those arrested for marijuana were white. This is problematic, considering that the rate of marijuana use between Black and white individuals is relatively equal, according to a report by the ACLU.

The newly released data also found that there were 3,687 summonses issued by the NYPD for possession of marijuana in the first quarter of the year, with 2,374 involving Black individuals and 1,089 involving Hispanics.

Those numbers are roughly in line with the figures from the first quarter of 2020, when the NYPD made 132 arrests and 3,623 summonses for pot-related possession. The arrest totals are, however, a steep dip from the first quarter of 2019, when there were 606 pot-related arrests.

Still, the latest figures will dismay advocates, who have been celebrating the arrival of legalization in the Empire State.

Recreational Pot is Coming to New York

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