By Kassandra Frederique and Alyssa Aguilera for The Huffington Post. 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.
As we all know, the NYPD has been on a marijuana arrest crusade for the last 20 years. Spending billions of dollars and wasting millions of police hours making nearly 700,000 arrests for low-level marijuana possession. What’s worse is that the vast majority of those arrested (86 percent) are young black and Latino New Yorkers, despite the fact that they use marijuana at lower rates than their white peers.