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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    1. It ain’t over until Dianne sticks her finger in it!

      1. Oh, you’re gonna Milk that one for all it’s worth…

        1. She saw the invisible rabbit!

      2. I think she had Pelosi stick an assault clip in it.

    2. Reid said that they probably wouldn’t be able to get 40 votes in the Democrat controlled Senate. I’d love to see how the White House thinks they’ll get the necessary votes in a Republican congress.

  1. 440,000 over ten years means 120/day, every day.
    Holy cow! How many cops do they have?

    1. 35,000. It’s an army.

      1. Maybe not an army, but more divisions than the Pope has.

        1. Granny Cheekbones says you just want to get high and shoot people.

    2. One every 13 minutes

      That’s just nuts, makes me pretty surprised that I don’t know anyone who’s been arrested for it. Then again a lot of my friends aren’t black or hispanic, but still.

  2. If we could somehow mobilize these fucking pot heads that would be one hell of an army. 400k strong army marching through the streets blowing smoke to disorientate the enemy. My wettest of wet dreams has always been to lead an army of pot heads into battle.

    1. I don’t see what could possibly go wrong.

  3. Sounds like some pretty crazy smack to me .Wow.

    1. Jeeze Anononononobot, they didn’t mention smack at all! Get with the program!

  4. Penguins win 10th in a row, Jets back in 3rd place.
    Good night for hockey.

    1. “Good night for hockey”
      Not sure that’s possible.

      1. don’t be a hater

      2. He’s Canadian, isn’t he? Because if so, I understand his love of hockey. Not much else going on up there, other than snow, maple syrup and curling.*

        *Footnote: I know very little about Canada.

        1. They pour through catalogs eyeing the latest clubs in eager anticipation of the opening baby harp seal season.

        2. also Poutine

          1. “also Poutine”
            Is that like fried chicken?

              1. Several Qu?b?cois communities claim to be the birthplace of poutine

                Man, I can’t imagine living somewhere so worthless that this is our claim to fame.

                1. Irish| 3.19.13 @ 11:36PM |#
                  “Several Qu?b?cois communities claim to be the birthplace of poutine
                  Man, I can’t imagine living somewhere so worthless that this is our claim to fame.”

                  Dunno. I had a friend who bragged about being from Buffalo…
                  And I’ve been known to mention Skyline Chile.

                2. Man, I can’t imagine living somewhere so worthless that this is our claim to fame.

                  You should try living in Pittsburgh where people have to exclaim to visitors right off the goddamn plane that we invented putting french fries on a fucking sandwich.

                  1. “…we invented putting french fries on a fucking sandwich.”

                    I think the residents of New Orleans (French-fry po’boy – fries on a baguette dressed with mayo, lettuce, and tomato), the UK (Chip butty – fries on white bread dressed with butter), and Belgium (Mitraillette – fries and sausage or steak on a demi-baguette dressed with lettuce, tomato, and garlic sauce) might disagree. 😉

                    1. Hey don’t tell me, as I could give shit. Tell it to the yinzer army.

              2. OK, worse than fried chicken without the racial stereotypes?

              3. outine (pron.: /pu??ti?n/; French: [putin], Quebec French:[put?s?n] ( listen)) is a typical Canadian dish (originally from Quebec), made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. Sometimes additional ingredients are added.

                Apparently even wikipedia doesn’t know what those extra ingredients are.

                1. Black pepper.

          2. Last time I crossed the Canadian border it was for precisely three things:
            A decent view of Niagara Falls
            Ketchup chips

            I could’ve done without the sass from the Canadian border guard though.

    2. Terrible night for hockey!

      Caps lost, and the Adam Oates experiment is coming up all shit roses.

      I miss Boudreau (who’s tearing it up in Anaheim)…and we haven’t lost Dale Hunter’s number, have we?

      Might need to blow up the team. Certainly, with Perrault playing so well (with limited minutes), we should be seeing what we can get for Ribeiro. Somebody making a run must want him.

      And how do you solve a problem like Ovechkin? The only coach he ever listened to was Dale Hunter, and I think that might have been because he was afraid Hunter might drop the gloves with him at any moment.

      Coaches like that don’t grow on trees.

      1. Caps are in town for 2 in a row later this week. Should put them in their place.

        1. Should put the pens in their place?

          Yeah, maybe.

          Crosby’s a douchebag.

          1. No, they’re coming to Winnipeg. Pay attention

          2. Crosby’s a douchebag.

            Yeah, what’s he thinking not standing there waiting for the puck the whole game!

            Dude if you watched tonight and didn’t think he put on a fucking clinic on two-way playing, then you’re a damn fool.

            1. But he’s such a douchebag!

      2. Ovechkin thinks he can play the same boring ass game every year and score 60 goals. Sorry boy, this here’s the N H L….

        He’ll never listen to anyone ’cause he’s an oaf that thinks hanging out waiting for a breakaway is a game plan.

        1. waiting for a breakaway is a game plan.

          Worked for Teemu in 92-93. But that was a different NHL.
          Teemu changed his game, why can’t Ovi?

          1. Hell, it worked for Ovie for 5 seasons, but defenses adapt no matter the skill. He reminds me of one of those owners on Kitchen Nightmares that just doesn’t get that when you’re failing you don’t do what you’re doing harder.

          2. Ovechkin changed his game last year–when he went for full defense. He was going down on the ice to block shots last year. We were great under Dale Hunter. He was a different player.

            Now they’re changing it up on him again–he’s playing RW, which he’s never played before. …and if you watch him, he always ends up drifting to the left side of the ice anyway. Oates just doesn’t have the…authorit-TAY…to get Ovechkin to change.

            And he was doin’ great for Moscow Dynamo over the lockout. Sometimes I think Ovechkin just wants out of Washington, and he’s funny that way. He used to lead the team in hits–now he let’s people skate right by him in the neutral zone. I just don’t think he wants to be there. …and I hate to say it, but if that’s the way it is, maybe McPhee needs to make the most of it.

            It wouldn’t be like trying to move Luongo.

            1. You sound like some commie lovin’ queer, Ken.


              Quit making excuses.

              Meanwhile… in America.

            2. Russians don’t win cups.
              Fedorov may be the exception, but the Wings won in spite of him and not because of him.

              1. Swedes don’t win cups–unless their name is Holmstrom.

                Lundquist could win it, but goalies don’t count.

                I don’t know what the Canucks are gonna do. You can’t win a seven game Cup series playing soft, and Swedish hockey is soft.

                …unless your name is Holmstrom.

      3. Ken Shultz| 3.19.13 @ 11:13PM |#
        “Terrible night for hockey!”
        Agreed! They all are.

        1. Hockey fans are kind of like Jews or libertarians. They somehow manage to find each other no matter where they are, and then they start talking about shit that nobody else cares about.

          1. You know who else didn’t care about hockey?

            1. Adam Lanza?

        2. Go to a San Jose Sharks game.

          Then watch it on TV three times.

          Then tell me you don’t like it.

          1. Ken, I live in Chicago. We set a record for games without a loss that just ended like a week and a half ago.

            I still don’t care.

            1. I think it’s great that gay people participate in this forum.

              1. Huh, I just noticed that Jesse started commenting on this thread too. I’m sure that’s what you meant.

                1. GBN

                  You sound like some commie lovin’ queer, Ken.

                  Ken Shultz

                  I think it’s great that gay people participate in this forum.

                  It’s like being in middle school again, but I’m not the one being picked on! Who the fuck do we smear?

                  1. SMEAR ME, SMEAR ME!

                  2. Fucking christ on a stick.

                    I thought “queer” was empowering and shit nowadays. These shifting rules are too much for a simple African warlord to keep up with.


                    1. All this talk of ‘fucking Christ on a stick’ sounds an awful lot like gay bashing, General.

                    2. Eh, I can’t keep up either. We’re up to LGBTQQ now and I had to ask someone what the extra q was for (it’s for ‘questioning’). I have since been informed that screaming “kill it with fire” is a disproportionate response to an acronym.

                    3. Is the first Q “Queer?” Because what’s the difference between that and gay?

                    4. Is the first Q “Queer?” Because what’s the difference between that and gay?

                      Your posts are “gay” but you’re “queer”.

                      Does that help?

                    5. No, because my posts aren’t gay. They’re beautiful little children who frolic and play, and bring joy to all.

                      I fail to see what’s gay about frolicking.

                    6. Whoa, whoa…

                      Slow up there. What’s the first ‘Q’ for?

                      If it’s for “queer” I’m gonna have to say that it’s a goddamn redundant Q.

                    7. your cisgender privelege is showing.

                    8. your cisgender privelege is showing.


                      *zips up*

                    9. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning

                      I hate the damn thing. It’s the entire problem with identity politics in 6 letters. Queer would technically be all encompassing, but it’s generally employed by the radical wing of the gay rights movement and there’s an implication of sexual identity as political act. It’s more affiliation with a societal ideal than anything meaningful about your sex, gender or orientation, so you end up with straight couples saying they’re queer just because they upend some imagined societal norm and nobody knows what it means.

                    10. I said I like it that gay people participate in this forum!

                      Sheesh, I’d hate to think what might have happened if I’d said something juvenile.

    3. Hell yes man. Clamped down on the Crapitals tonight.

      I remember when they used to be good and Ovechkin wasn’t a fucking joke. John was a big hockey fan back then, used to come by and talk shit all the time. I guess he’s just another deecee cocktail party attending, gay for Ovie government employee that showed a passing interest in hockey.

      1. People getting excited about a team when they’re contending isn’t really unusual.

        I mean, my folks bought season tickets back in 1975, but…backing a team no matter what has it’s own set of problems.

        Look at Toronto. They could put up losing teams every year, and their fans might start throwing waffled, but they’ll still keep selling out–and the management knows it, too!

        Q: What do LA, Anaheim, Dallas, and Carolina have in common?

        A: They’re not pathetic like the Canucks–who will never win the cup.

        Seriously, a picture of someone in a Canucks jersey holding the cup, it’s like achieving Libertopia, winning the lottery, or finding intelligent extraterrestrial life–it’s something people want to believe will happen, but will probably never happen in any of our lifetimes.

        1. Why are your posts so many words? Christ.

          And what kind of fuck makes excuses for fair weather fans?

          Seriously though, you must admit that the Capitals, and the penguins to a lesser extent, have a bandwagon thing goin’ on.

          1. I grew up rooting for Dennis Maruk, and I’ve been watching as much as I could (not living in DC anymore) since. Do you know how EASY it is to be a Leafs fan if you grew up in Toronto? Do you know how absurd it is listening to some 23 year old kid talk about how fanatical their fans are, when I’ve been rooting for my crappy team since 1975?

            You know who the hardest core fans are? They’re the ones in Phoenix, who put up money for season tickets a year and a half ago–even though they weren’t sure the team was still gonna be there the next year. Being a Caps fan is hard.

            Being a Coyotes fan is hard.

            You gotta really love hockey to be a fan in a market like that. Even when I go to Kings games–the Kings are probably the fourth most popular team in LA (behind the Lakers, the Dodgers, and the Raiders). …but the fans who do follow the team and go to the games are some of the most fanatical fans in the league.

            Fair weather fans? That happens everywhere–except in markets like Toronto, Montreal, and Detroit, where being a fan and being born there are the same damn thing. It is so easy to be a Habs fan. All you have to do is grow up in Montreal. If you want to be a lifelong Caps fan? You have to try–real hard.

            1. Okay, I see your point. But dang with all the words man.

              Don’t forget that the pens had a few years of extreme suckitude. And all those naysayers from then are the rich bastards with season tickets now. I’d totally go commie if I could get me some of them sweet Bourgeoisie season ticket packages.

              1. Malkin’s a commie too.

                1. Yeah, but he’s injured right now so it doesn’t count.

                  1. They should put him in bubble wrap.

  5. Greg| 3.19.13 @ 10:01PM |#
    One every 13 minutes
    That’s just nuts, makes me pretty surprised that I don’t know anyone who’s been arrested for it. Then again a lot of my friends aren’t black or hispanic, but still.”

    My gripe is the (far fewer) white kids who get busted get rehab. The (majority) black and brown kids end up in ‘felon U’. And we get to pay for it oh, so many ways!
    Nixon was an asshole for many reasons, but this ranks right up there. And the same applies to every politico who hasn’t voted against prohibition since. Assholes!

    1. How about all the black caucus members who are in favor of the drug war? In fact, as recently as 2008, the black caucus tried to expand it by restricting menthol cigarettes, a law which would clearly affect black people more than whites.

      “Sure my constituents are the ones being brutalized and imprisoned over this, but end the drug war? That’s madness!” /A distressing number of black politicians.

      1. “Sure my constituents are the ones being brutalized and imprisoned over this,…”
        News to me, and pathetic. I’m guessing the Black Caucus is at least largely Dem.

      2. Their constituents are the public employee unions–the ones writing the checks, knocking on doors and making the phone calls.

        The more the drug war goes on, the more it’s escalated, the more money goes to public employee unions. You saw how they acted in Wisconsin when Scott Walker threatened to stop lining their porky pockets?

        Once we get public opinion on our side, we’ll have another mountain to climb to get over the public employee unions.

        “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.”

        Why would the cops’ unions want to give up all those extra hours?

        1. Ken Shultz| 3.19.13 @ 11:19PM |#
          “Their constituents are the public employee unions–the ones writing the checks, knocking on doors and making the phone calls.”

          Very good point, and I missed it entirely. The “constituents” of the Dem politicos in CA are not the voters; they are the *product* of the constituent’s efforts.

          1. Agreed.

  6. Go to bed Australia, you’re drunk.

    1. Muslims, generally, believe that Jesus didn’t die on the cross. Most believe that God made it seem like he was on the cross, but they believe it was either an optical illusion God created for his own purposes, or it was Judas or someone else who was actually crucified.…..rpretation

      They don’t believe in original sin, but they do believe in predestination. In other words, there wasn’t any reason for Jesus to die–since he had no original sin to pay for, and you’re gonna pay for your own sins yourself on judgement day anyway. And on top of that, their predestination has it that God would never allow something horrible like crucifiction to happen to a perfectly innocent man like Isa.

      So, anyway, the idea that whomever or whatever it was on the cross was some kind of illusion still has legs in the modern world. They’re right that Mighty Morphin’ Power Jesus is just as plausible as Zombie Jesus. …and both of those are probably more plausible than Jesus building the dinosaurs.

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