New York City: Pot Arrests For 2009 Second Highest Total Ever

City police made over 46,000 arrests in 2009 for marijuana possession in public, according to statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and analyzed by Queens College sociologist Harry Levine.

The annual arrest total is the second highest in the city’s history, and is up over 4,600 percent from 1990, when police reported fewer than 1,000 pot arrests.

New York city police made 46,400 lowest level marijuana possession arrests [NY State Penal Law 221.10] involving cases where marijuana was either used or possessed in public. Of those arrested, 54 percent were African American, 33 percent were Hispanic, and only ten percent were Caucasian.

African-Americans and Hispanics together comprise approximately half of the city’s population.

Commenting on the racial disparity in arrests rates, Levine said, “Police arrested blacks for pot possession at seven times the rate of whites, and Latinos at four times the rate of whites.”

Levine further noted 90 percent of those arrested were male, and most offenders were under 26-years-old. In all of the arrests, marijuana possession was the most serious reported charge or the only one.

Although simple marijuana possession is a violation and not a crime in New York State, if the marijuana is “open to public view” it can be charged as a misdemeanor. According to a 2008 study by Harry Levine and Deborah Small and released by the New York Civil Liberties Union, police have made some 400,000 misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests over the past decade.

Said Levine: “Every year since 1997 police in New York City have been intimidating and tricking tens of thousands of young people to take out their marijuana and to hand it over. When the young people do so they are handcuffed, arrested and usually spend 24 hours in the city’s jails.”

The NYCLU study estimated that marijuana arrests in New York City cost taxpayers between $50 million and $90 million annually.

– Article from NORML on April 2, 2010.



  1. Anonymous on

    I’m a New Yorker and also agree that most of the laws here are outrageous. The cost of living is horrendous and we can go on with what is wrong with this state.

    As for the arrogant and pompous people… I think you will find quite a few of those in every state. You don’t sound so humble yourself. Thanks for the compliments! : S

  2. Anonymous on

    …and you can’t listen to your fucking iPod while crossing the street, either.
    You can’t have a GUN in New York city, either. That’s actually unconstitutional. Bet that lowered the homicide rate, right? Like in Chicago, and D.C.? Wait… gun laws don’t scare murderers? I’d like to believe the dumbest fucking people in the world run these cities, but I think they’re just sociopaths.

    I’ll never forget some of the New York laws I’ve heard. It seems to this Canadian as if New York basically knows it can make laws like it’s the USSR circa Joseph Stalin, and as long as they don’t kill 21 million people, pompous arrogant fear-filled assess are going to move on in from North Bumfuck Idaho.

  3. Anonymous on

    When you are as rich as Bloomberg, $50-$90M actually is “no money.”

  4. NunyaBiznas on

    Correct you are, NYC is basically a the archetype for a nanny state, can’t smoke pot(of course) can’t cook for public consumption with trans fats, salt is on its way out, can’t have your dog bark for more than 5 minutes or you face fines, can’t beep while driving, can’t smoke, taxes out the ass, drinks cost a shitload… I could go on; the shit is endless.

    On top of that a lot of “New Yorkers” (most of whom are transplants from North Bumfuck Idaho or some other small town) are the most pompous, arrogant, fear filled, asses I’ve ever met. That isn’t mentioning the heavily armed men you occasionally run into while they are looking for “terrorists” and “threats”.

  5. The BallyHoo on

    The Place To Be…. R.I.P. Keith Whittiker

    That being said, New York is supposed to be the most Liberal minded, open-minded city, and you hear THIS !!!!!!!!

    Wow, that’s fucked up big time,


  6. dbcooper on

    i was going to post, but foam said it all, and said it all quite appropriately

  7. foam on

    Bloommberg is a fucking idiot along with the rest of the dunbass new yorkers that put up with this shit