Drug Policy

"You Bet I Did, and I Enjoyed It. And I'll Slap Cuffs on Anyone Who Enjoyed It as Much as I Did."

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New York City, home to admitted pot smoker (and pot enjoyer) Mayor Michael Bloomberg leads the world in marijuana arrests: over 370,000 in the last decade for the lowest possible level marijuana offense. More than half were black, despite the fact that just 25 percent of the city is black, and despite the fact that according to survey data, a higher percentage of white people actually use the drug.

The New York City ACLU says the discrepancy comes from the fact that minorities are much more likely than whites to be stopped and frisked. The end result is a much higher percentage of blacks than whites with a pot-related arrest record–and all that comes with that (including the loss of ever getting federal loans to go to college)–even though white people are more likely to actually use the drug.

More here.

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  1. To expect consistency from Mikey is to expect a dog not to lick its balls.

    He knows what is best for you, and if you don’t agree, he’ll prove it to you–with force.

  2. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Epi.

  3. With all the obsession over race since before Obama (I discovered a lot of Ron Paul critics suddenly became race-crusaders, albeit briefly) I wonder if the racist roots and effects of the tax and spend drugwar will FINALLY become a political issue the control freaks have to deal-with…I sure hope so, it’ll be about-time…
    JMR

  4. So he smoked and enjoyed pot AND became a billionaire? Maybe they should pass it out in business school.

  5. If black people want to smoke a gateway drug like pot, then they’ll just have to accept the consequences.

    If we let up on pot, then they’ll all be smoking crack and setting themselves on fire.

  6. ENOUGH! Just STOP it already!
    Marijuana needs to be legalized today!
    How can someone seriously support the drug war and simultaneously claim to be supportive of minorities? I know people who claim both, and I loathe it.
    It’s for their own good/protection? Fuck you!

  7. Minorities will never achieve parity in this county until we purge them of all their bad habits, like smoking dope and listening to hip hop.

  8. The arrest for small amounts should STOP.

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne called Levine an “advocate for marijuana legalization,” and accused the NYCLU of using the sociologist “to mislead the public with absurdly inflated numbers and false claims about bias.”

    “If the NYCLU is for legalization, it should just say so without resorting to smears,” Browne said.

    THIS IS A LIE…or at least, the mis-repesentation of the truth

    Any usable amount is a arrestable office in NYC.

    If arrested for possesion, people are charged with “Unlawful Possession” which is a Municipal violation (not a crime) 221.05.

    People that commit aggrevated offenses (smoking in public or purchasing) are charged with “Criminal Possession” (a misdemeanor) 221.10.

    Regardless of violation or Misdemeanor, this arrest goes on the FBI Crimes database. You can be denied entrance in Canada and other European Countries FOR LIFE. Many states will even deny u the right to VOTE or hold certain JOBS. You can pretty much KISS GOOD-BYE the chances of working for a Major Investment Bank or even get a good Job. You can even be Denied Financial Aid for One Year.

    The people that made these policies are CRUEL people that smoked pot themselves.

    And YES, a guy with a Du-Rag (Latino, black, or even white) is more likely to be Stopped-Frisked by the Police by Black and Latino Cops.

    It’s not SO much a racial thing…but the nature of a CRUEL uncareing society that can care less of the life-long effects a minor posession charge can have on a young person

  9. I’m one of those unlucky white guys (under Dinkins and Rudolfo).

    End result – ACDs.

    Hey Alice – Keep Dope Alive.

  10. I don’t have the study at hand but this has been studied and when the proper corrections are applied it becomes clear that this not a race problem but rather an income problem.

    Lower income people come into contact with the police more due to things like expired registration on their cars, hanging out in the park at night instead of staying home and playing warcraft or by committing petty crimes such as vandalism. On the police interact with a person for an offense the odds they will find marijuana and trigger an automatic sentence goes up dramatically.

    Upper income people seldom do anything that brings them into contact with the police so they are far less likely to get busted on trivial possession charges.

    None of this negates the idiocy of saying, “weed can screw up your life so to protect you we are sending you to jail for 2 years” but its important to know where the disparities in arrest come from.

  11. I think the racial aspect is certainly true. But then again I also think that the white users by and large usually take much more care and caution in the where and when they partake. White people will draw the blinds, light incense, turn on vent fans all in their own homes. Many youthful blacks seem to think burning a blunt on the street is a good idea and no one will care. Then when they get arrested they think they were profiled. No you were just a dumbass standing in public smoking weed.

    So it is a combination of several things IMO but the racial aspect is certainly there in the police practices.

  12. Make pot a felony, continue selective enforcement, and keep the Republicans in office forever…

  13. I believe NYC has disputed the figures and the methodology, so it might be fair to note that.

  14. Stopped and frisked? Are you kidding me? It’s very likely true that those with dark skin are more likely to be stopped and frisked than whites, but the real culprit here are the deliberate buy-and-bust and surveillance operations conducted by the NYPD (at the behest of the special narcotics bureau) that take place almost exclusively north of 104th street. The special narcotics division of the Manhattan DA’s office is devoted almost entirely to this sort of thing.

    My point is: don’t be fooled into thinking this is casual racism on the part of the cops; this is the result of a deliberate strategy. I won’t go so far as to call it a racist strategy, they’re just going after low-hanging fruit (dealers and users in the targeted area tend to conduct their operations on the street rather than in private). But it is the result of a strategy. It’s systematic, and can be fixed by a policy shift. We New Yorkers can change this with our votes. Remember that next time we elect a mayor or a DA.

  15. Yeah, but according to Ron Paul, Blacks are a criminal element anyway, so arresting more of them for marijuana at least gets more of them off the street.

  16. “We don’t think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That’s true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such.” –Ron Paul (Newsletter 1992)

  17. Oh, so its okay that Bloomberg smoked pot cuz he’s not one of the little people? That’s outrageous! Until I’m a billionaire mayor of a major city. Then I would endorse a crackdown on poor people and their drug habits . . . for the children.

  18. Yeah, but according to Ron Paul, Blacks are a criminal element anyway, so arresting more of them for marijuana at least gets more of them off the street.

    And into the system or Jail where they are now a burden on the taxpayers. Ridiculous!

  19. And they don’t belong there in the first place.

  20. Edward,

    Sounds like he was talking tough on gangs and their members.

  21. Dammit Edward, now I got Ice T’s “Colors” playing in my head.

  22. U know me Ska

    I must say…that many people arrested for 221.10 and 221.01 in NYC do get ACDs.

    ACD = “Adjournment Contemplating Dismissal”. The record goes away once the adjounment period ends.

    However, this is up to the prosecutor.

    And some prosecutors will hand these out depending on the look on ur face.

    White people always, if not 99%, will get an ACD.

    If u come 2 court in URBAN WEAR…u will get a CD (Conditional Discharge) in which a record is FOREVER.

    KEEP DOPE ALIVE !!!

  23. Benway

    Your point of buy-bust and observations points is true.

    The purpose of this is to gentrification. Many neighborhoods uptown need to be cleaned up of :

    – People hanging out
    – The corner weed dealer
    – The Thug-Eliment

    This raises the prices of condos and co-ops. It’s hard to ask $500,000 for a 2 bedroom with a du-rang wearing dominican puffing weed on ur doorstep.

  24. BTW…I’m against the POLICY of Buy-Bust and Observation Points.

    My friends working North Narcotics and Street Crime in NYPD make well over $80,000 per year. These resources are wasted on arresting teenagers and young people for a $10 bag of weed. Yes, on occassions, it does capture fugitives and people with outstanding warrants…but the overall effectiveness on this matter is marginal.

    This process is a waste of money, only targets dominicans, pr, and blacks, and gives people MORE obstacles to people that we want MORE ACCESS to Jobs and Colleges…not less.

  25. The end result is a much higher percentage of blacks than whites with a pot-related arrest record–and all that comes with that (including the loss of ever getting federal loans to go to college)–even though white people are more likely to actually use the drug.

    The War on Drugs Minorities continues.

    This is an appropriate place to insert one of my favorite drug warrior quotes.

    There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.

    That’s just one of many racist quotes from Henry Anslinger, director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930 – 1962.

  26. This always has been the amazing thing to me, the folks perpetuating the WoD are the ones who grew up in the sixties and seventies and you’d think that they should know better.

    Why continue with the nonsense ?

  27. …and don’t black people also drive big gaz guzzlers ?…

  28. Libertarianism is a pretty much a white (and white bread) movement, isn’t it?

  29. This always has been the amazing thing to me, the folks perpetuating the WoD are the ones who grew up in the sixties and seventies and you’d think that they should know better.

    Their basic mindset hasn’t really been “everyone should be free to do what they want”, its been “I know better than anyone else”. The latter approach easily morphs from “let me party” in your twenties to “do what I say, not what I did” in your forties.

  30. Windtell “Why continue with the nonsense?”

    They continue with the nonsense because it gives them power. Also when was the last time you heard a politician say oppps our bad we have been wrong all this time and need to change things immediately? Never comes to mind.

    They can not admit they have lied outright for 40+ years to the public after having locked up millions for those very same lies. Then we might think they are always lying to us anytime they mention something else. I personally already think that but those that drank the reefer madness koolaid would probably be shocked.

    Not to mention it is the job of Hypocrits to live these lives and tell others how to live theirs.

  31. Libertarianism is a pretty much a white (and white bread) movement, isn’t it?

    Sad to say. It’s amazing how many libs will rush to bash the War on Drugs (it’s freedom of choice; how dare you tell me how to live my life!), but feel free to hazard on how particular minority churches should preach (fer goshsakes, don’t scare the white man!).

  32. Radley Balko,

    I call shenanigans! Why is your SAMHSA data over 10 years old (1997)?

    The usual claim is that Blacks and Whites use marijuna at exactly the same rate. But you went for the stronger claim that Whites use more. Do you have any proof?

  33. Radley,

    According to the latest government statistics (for whatever they’re worth) Blacks are about 20% more likely to smoke weed than Whites.

  34. RC Dean –

    The phrase ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30’ has really been a self fulfilling prophecy then, hasn’t it ?

  35. I think George W. Bush said it best:

    “You like getting handjobs?”

    “You like giving handjobs?”

    “Then that makes you a hypocriticizer too”

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