Recent New York City police arrest statistics show that cops are following the advice of Mayor de Blasio and leaving the regular small time stoners alone and concentrating on more important things. At least in the wealthier areas.
One of de Blasio's election promises was to stop arresting and locking up people for possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2014, NYC Police were ordered to just ticket individuals caught with 25 grams or less of marijuana instead of arresting them.
Criminal Justice records show that through to October 20 this year, there has been a 40 percent drop in marijuana arrests - 18,120 compared to 29,906 arrests for the same period last year.
For the same period, fines for marijuana violations have surged. Police handed out 13,081 low level marijuana summons and are on pace to issue more than 16,000 tickets. For the whole of 2014, 13,378 marijuana related tickets were issued, while in 2013 the figure was 13,316 tickets overall.
The figures also show there appears to be wide variations in enforcement. The 45th Precinct in the upscale Bronx area of Throggs Neck issued 415 tickets for marijuana possession and made just 48 arrests in the first nine months of 2015. On Staten Island, the 122nd Precinct ticketed 258 people and arrested only 18 individuals suspects. However in the Bronx 52nd Precinct of Kingsbridge, police arrested 720 people and fined 168 people in the first nine months of the year. In Queens in the 113th Precinct of South Jamaica, police made 259 marijuana arrests and ticketed 79 people.
Criminal justice professor Eugene O'Donnell says that public marijuana use in New York is still illegal, and the City Hall issued summons directive is putting the everyday-Joe street cop in a difficult position.
“The police are being left in a nowhere land. No matter what they do they’re subject to criticism. For cops it’s not really about marijuana; it’s about finding marijuana on the way to finding a gun or more serious narcotics.”