While arrests in New York City for cannabis are down overall, the remaining arrests still show a huge racial disparity in enforcement, The Fresh Toast reports.
Numbers released by the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio show that while arrests are less than half of what they were in 2017 — thanks largely to a decision by New York City to not arrest for simple cannabis possession — 89 percent of those arrested in 2018 were Black or Hispanic. White people only comprised 7 percent of arrests.
“This administration has taken a dead aim at disparity by dramatically reducing marijuana arrests, and developing a plan for legalization that aims to right historic wrongs. But it’s naïve to think that an issue as old and complex as this can be unraveled and solved by the snap of anyone’s fingers. It’ll be a challenge that this administration, the next administration and those who follow will have to constantly focus on — and we will continue to do so.” — Olivia Lapeyrolerie, Spokesperson for the Office of the Mayor, via The Fresh Toast
Total cannabis arrests in 2018 totaled 7,348; that’s a huge reduction from the 17,121 cannabis arrests in 2017. It’s clear, however, that simply slowing down the rate of cannabis arrests does not eliminate racial disparity. While the Mayor’s office has committed to doing further work on the problem, some criticize the de Blasio administration’s lack of criminal justice reform as a whole.
“We are policing marijuana use in communities of color more aggressively than we are in white communities. That has not changed,” said City Councilman Rory Lancman.