Despite the decriminalization of marijuana in New York City, folks are still being arrested for possession, and the majority of them are minorities.
According to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance, Blacks and Latinos, who make up 51% of the NYC population, still constitute 86% of marijuana arrests between 2014 and 2016—and this is despite the fact that the majority of smokers and drug users are white folks.
As Mic.com notes, it’s happening in other places like Washington D.C. as well. Possession of marijuana in small amounts is legal there, though 108 out of 128 arrested for public weed smoking in 2015 were Black.
Chew on that for a moment.
According to the DPA report, such arrests “are the result of ‘willful indifference’ by top city and police officials to the unwarranted and unconstitutional racial discrimination built into these routine police enforcement patters and policies.”
The New York Times editorial board recently weighed in, stating: “These arrests have virtually no public safety benefit and can cause lasting damage to people who often have had no other contact with the criminal justice system. . .The city needs to do more to minimize arrests. District attorneys can take the lead by refusing to prosecute most, if not all, of these cases.”
Check out more findings from the report here.