89% of New York Pot Arrests Involve People of Color

The New York Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice has just released a troubling statistic. Despite a steep decline in marijuana-related arrests, 89% of all people arrested for pot smoking last year were people of color. Whites made up just 7%. 

The statistic bolsters claims that anti-marijuana policies unjustly and disproportionately affect minority communities. That is the sentiment behind recent cannabis equity programs in cities and counties across California, which aim to mitigate the effects of the War on Drugs and level the playing field for minorities trying to break into the marijuana business. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown also signed a statewide marijuana equity bill into law

Since decriminalizing weed, New York has seen marijuana arrests drop from 17,121 in 2017 to 7,348 last year. That’s impressive. But in light of the ongoing racial disparities, drug reform and civil right advocates are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to do more.


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