NYC Marijuana Arrests Show Racial Disparity

In a story that may not be surprising to many, the New York Times revealed this week that blacks in NYC are far more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than other racial groups despite the fact that white New Yorkers are more likely to be marijuana smokers. In addition, overall arrests for possession of pot are up under Mayor Bloomburg.

According to the Times report, the lowest level marijuana arrests are up 50% when compared with years that Giuliani was in office. Eighty seven percent of the marijuana arrests last year involved African Americans or Latinos.

Harry G. Levine, from Queens College, is quoted as saying “In one year…Bloomberg made more pot arrests than in 18 years of Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani combined.”

Further widening the racial divide is how the case is handled prior to a first court appearance. Blacks are more likely to spend the night in jail for a minor marijuana offense while whites are more commonly released pending their first appearance.

While possessing a small amount of marijuana is considered a violation and not a criminal offense, if you have that marijuana out in public view, it becomes a misdemeanor offense. Smoking a joint in public can have a far greater impact than simply being caught with a small amount in your pocket.

Regardless of who you are or how you look, facing criminal charges can be a sobering experience. Whether you are a minority or not you may be worried about the system treating your fairly. And as the Times report reveals, you would be right to be concerned.

Putting your confidence in a defense lawyer can assist you during this difficult time. Possession of marijuana is a common charge that we see all the time in the NY criminal courts. Though the public’s attitude towards weed is somewhat lenient, the law isn’t always that way.

If you are facing possession or marijuana charges or any other drug charges in New York, contact me immediately to discuss your case. Together we may be able to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether. Call me today for a free consultation.

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