NY Marijuana Arrests Down 75%

The "marijuana arrests capital of the world" has some significant changes in the number of marijuana offenders.  Back in November 2014, Mayor de Blasio pledged to lighten up on the city's cannabis laws and for the first time in decades, the city of New York has had the number of marijuana related arrests drop!

In December 2014, 460 New Yorkers were arrested for marijuana possession as compared to December 2013, when 1,820 people were arrested.  The 75% drop in marijuana arrests is record breaking for the state.  Summonses have also dropped by about 10% since the policy change.  With a grand total of 24,600 arrests in the year 2014, there has been a drastic fall off of marijuana offenses in New York City.

"The law is a law, but what we're trying to do is approach the enforcement of the law in a smarter way," Mayor Bill de Blasio said back in November.  He feels that the policy change will relieve police focus on petty crimes and has proven to do so as many cases have been dismissed.  However, the New York Civil Liberties Union feels, "A more meaningful change would be to de-emphasize enforcement of non-criminal violations across the board."

In New York, multiple marijuana-possession convictions can lead to deportation even if the charges are violations, not criminal charges.  Defendants may be under the impression that they may receive a fine if they choose to plead guilty.  

Mayor de Blasio's opening question when announcing the new policy was simply: "Would you rather be arrested or be given a summons?"