War on Drugs

Covered at Reason 24/7: NYPD Made 440,000 Pot Possession Busts Over a Decade


Reason 24/7

When New York City cops aren't patting down kids on the sidewalk and spying on religious and political groups, whatever are they doing to keep themselves busy? Well, it turns out, according to a report prepared by Dr. Harry Levine, a marijuana-specializing professor of sociology at Queens College, that they're busting lots and lots and lots of people for simple marijuana possession. And, they're spending lots and lots and lots of time doing it.

I mean, it's New York City. What else are police going to do to fill the hours?

From the Drug Policy Alliance:

A new report released today documents the astonishing number of hours the New York Police Department has spent arresting and processing hundreds of thousands of people for low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests during Mayor Bloomberg's tenure. The report finds that NYPD used approximately 1,000,000 hours of police officer time to make 440,000 marijuana possession arrests over 11 years. These are hours that police officers might have otherwise have spent investigating and solving serious crimes.

The report was prepared by Dr. Harry Levine, Professor of Sociology at Queens College and recognized expert on marijuana possession arrests, at the request of members of the New York City Council and the New York State Legislature.

Additionally, the report estimates that the people arrested by NYPD for marijuana possession have spent 5,000,000 hours in police custody over the last decade.  The report includes a compendium of quotes from academics, journalists, law enforcement professionals and elected officials attesting to the wastefulness, consequences and racial disparities inherent in these arrests.

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