NYPD marijuana arrest patterns unchanged under de Blasio: Report

marijuana arrest nyc new york city nypd weed pot
A Marijuana Arrest Research Project said they are seeing “more of the same” from the de Blasio administration.
Credit: Metro file photo

Marijuana arrest patterns during the first months of the de Blasio administration are “indistinguishable” from his predecessor, according to a recent report.

An average 80 people were arrested daily during the first four months of 2014 for possessing small amounts of marijuana, a report by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project found. An average 78 such arrests were made in all of 2013.

As a candidate, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to work with the NYPD to reduce low-level marijuana arrests.

“We’re deeply disappointed that a promise Mayor de Blasio made has not been fulfilled,” said Loren Siegel of the research project, which cites statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services in the report. The report uses numbers from the division’s Computerized Criminal History system through May 20.

marijuana arrest nyc new york city nypd weed pot
A Marijuana Arrest Research Project report found that possession arrest patterns for small amounts of weed have not changed under Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Credit: Marijuana Arrest Research Project

NYPD arrest statistics provided by the mayor’s office show a slight discrepancy from the report, but their numbers still amount to an average 79 daily arrests in the first four months of 2014. According to the city statistics, an average 85 arrests were made a day during the same time in 2013.

A copy of the raw numbers the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services sent the Marijuana Arrest Research Project was provided to Metro. Siegel could not explain the discrepancy with arrest numbers from the city but said the point of the report is still the same for both sets of data.

“We don’t see that a change that we expected, particularly since the change would not cost any money,” she said.

De Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak reaffirmed that the mayor’s feelings mirror that of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

“Mayor has said he agrees with the commissioner’s call to have officers exercise more discretion in marijuana cases, that excessive arrests for small amounts of marijuana are unproductive and the real thing we need to look out for is serious crime,” Walzak said.

Statistics provided by the mayor’s office also show a 6.2 percent decrease in fifth-degree marijuana possession arrests through May this year compared with 2013.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders



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