According to data just released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York City marijuana arrests in 2015 dropped to under 17,000 for the first time since 1996. The 16,590 arrests for low-level marijuana possession in 2015 is a 42% decline from the 26,386 in 2014 and a 67% drop from the nearly 51,000 arrests in 2011.
This is welcome news and a clear sign of some changes in leadership. New York City is one of those places where showing marijuana in public was an arrestable offense, and so cops would stop-and-frisk and tell people to empty their pockets. Once it was out of their pockets, they’d get arrested for having it out in public.
A 67% drop in four years is pretty incredible. Part of it comes from the announcement in 2014 by Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bill Bratton to stop arresting for simple possession of less than 25 grams.
Of course, 16,590 arrests is still way too high.