By Benjie Cooper
YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog
At a Wednesday conference in Washington DC, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that the city’s law enforcement would be undergoing some changes in their arrest policies.
A 2014-2016 report released by the Drug Policy Alliance highlights a racial bias in cannabis arrests by the NYPD. Report data shows that marijuana possession arrests increased after De Blasio took office and that for the first eight months of 2014, 86 percent of them were black or Latino.
The report points out that, of all of the people arrested for possession, only eleven percent have a misdemeanor conviction.
“Low-level marijuana possession arrests have disastrous consequences for individuals and their families,” says the report, quoting a statement De Blasio made during his campaign. “These arrests limit one’s ability to qualify for student financial aid and undermine one’s ability to find stable housing and good jobs.”
“Nonetheless, in the first eight months of 2014, severe racial and class disparities persisted,” says the report. “White and wealthier neighborhoods have much lower rates of marijuana arrests; lower-income black and Latino neighborhoods have much higher rates of marijuana arrests.”
But in light of the Drug Policy Alliance report as well as City Council bill that mandated that arrest data be published online, the New York Mayor is looking to modify current policies.
“Today I’m announcing that the NYPD will overhaul and reform its policies related to marijuana enforcement in the next thirty days,” said De Blasio Wednesday. “Nothing speaks to the quality of society more than whether people are policed fairly.”
De Blasio says that while there are still significant issues with current policies, he stated that it was imperative to put an end to unnecessary arrests and put a stop to the inequality that currently exists.