A new report released Thursday by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services revealed that marijuana arrests in New York last year were much higher than in previous years. 50,383 people were arrested for pot possession by the NYPD in 2010, amounting to roughly fifteen percent of all arrests the entire year. About seventy percent of arrestees were under the age of thirty, and eighty-five percent were black or Latino, according to the data.
By comparison, the same report showed there were 29,752 arrests in 2005, just over forty-percent fewer than last year. Queens College sociology professor Dr. Harry Levine said, "New York has made more marijuana arrests under [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg than any mayor in New York City history." The funny thing about the elevated stats is that Bloomberg, while campaigning for mayor in 2001, told a New York magazine reporter, when asked if he had ever smoked pot, "You bet I did. And I enjoyed it." The pro-legalization group NORML ended up incorporating his words into a $500,000 ad campaign, which Bloomberg conceded he was powerless to stop because of the First Amendment.