Marijuana Busts Cost City $75 Million A Year, Report Says (Updated with Police Comment)

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The city spends $75 million a year on the NYPD's campaign of arresting people on low level marijuana possession charges, a new report says.

The Drug Policy Alliance report says police and court expenses total up to $2,000 per arrest. Between 2002 and 2010, police made 350,000 marijuana possession arrests, costing the city $350 million to $700 million.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams says the campaign unfairly targets young black and Hispanic residents. He says 86 percent of those arrested were from one of those two groups. Councilmember Letitia James described the campaign as "wasteful."

The authors of the report pointed out that a 34-year-old state law decriminalized small amounts of marijuana possession, making it a violation publishable by a summons rather than arrest and jail.

But, they argue, the arrests are good for police officers because they are "relatively safe and easy, provide training for rookie cops, allow overtime pay," and help officers hit quotas. The report also draws a correlation between the number of pot arrests and the huge increase in stop and frisks. In other words, a lot of those arrests emanated from stop and frisks.

(Update) Deputy Inspector Kim Royster, a police spokeswoman, described the report as "biased and incomplete." "It ignored both the very high incidents of violent crime that plagued the city when low level offenses were enforced far less vigorously, and the steep decrease in violent crime that occurred when less serious offenses, like marijuana, were consistently addressed," she said.

She pointed out that between 1981 and 1995, there were 9.5 million index crimes, and 26,000 murder victims. Between 1996-2010, the number of index crimes dropped to 3.8 million, and the number of homicide victims dropped to 9,300.


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Rob T.
Rob T.

These people who sell drugs destroy there families and the public they are lazy people who don't know how to walk straight and take the lazy way of making a living. People can deal with life and can not stop smoking weed which money can be used for more constructive things in life.  Personal experiences keep making all these reason it's cool to smoke weed, grow up pot heads.

I_use_to_be_a_redneck
I_use_to_be_a_redneck

i think it would be better for everything if it was just legal. end of story.

imsweetleaf
imsweetleaf

the battle of the weed lies only with the attitudes that surround it, and the money that wants to keep it from competing with their own interests (ie wall street thing). cannabis is innocuous.

as far as lady cop's comments on pursing less serious crime convictions relating to the lower number of more serious crime convictions; well i watched freakonomics the other day, one of the guys was saying that since roe vs. wade, that violent crime had dropped considerably... i'm just saying.

dcsais
dcsais

If the arrests goes for a good cause why not but what are those quotas for? if the citizens dont see what they are implying to the reports then that is not fair. Also I do agree that it also depends on the location where pots are banned.

"We help Americans find jobs, prosperity and explore Asia. For details, visit http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs"

Research for YOURSELF!
Research for YOURSELF!

(Read the U.S. government-sponsored research as outlined by Cohen & Stillman, Therapeutic Potential of Marijuana, 1976; Roffman, Roger, Marijuana as Medicine, 1980; Mikuriya, Tod, M.D., Marijuana Medical Papers, 1972; also, the work of Dr. Norman Zinberg; Dr. Andrew Weil; Dr. Lester Grinspoon; and the U.S. Government’s Presidential Commission reports [Shafer Commission] from 1969 through 1972; Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Tel Aviv/ Jerusalem Univ., 1964-97; W.B. O’Shaugnessy monograph, 1839; and the long-term Jamaican studies I & II, 1968-74; Costa Rican studies through 1982; U.S. Coptic studies, 1981; Ungerlieder; U.S. military studies since the 1950s and ‘60s.)

Serenebassdrop
Serenebassdrop

Don't you think there is something strange about making nature illegal?Who are you to say that something that grows upon our planet should be illegal?Why should you play god.It's apparent and right in front of your eyes how this substance is HARMLESS- It's a actually beneficial in many many many way.This should not even be an issue, this shouldn't even be an article.Whom ever is in favor of keeping marijuana illegal lacks an eye of knowledge.

Saadiq
Saadiq

To the idiot that said that marijuana is the least harmful of all substances: you are just ignorant. Marijuana is worst than cigarettes as it holds more tar than cigarettes. Do your research before you start running your mouth.

Truth Is
Truth Is

More for Saadiq

The Hype:

More Harmful Than Tobacco

According to the American Lung Association, cigarettes and tobacco smoking related diseases kill more than 430,000 Americans every year. Fifty million Americans smoke, and 3,000 teens start each day. The Berkeley carcinogenic tar studies of the late 1970s concluded that “marijuana is one-and-a-half times more carcinogenic than tobacco.”

The Fact:

Not One Documented Case of Cancer

There are lung irritants involved in any smoke. Cannabis smoke causes mild irritation to the large airways of the lungs. Symptoms disappear when smoking is discontinued.

However, unlike tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke does not cause any changes in the small airways, the area where tobacco smoke causes long term and permanent damage. Additionally, a tobacco smoker will smoke 20 to 60 cigarettes a day, while a heavy marijuana smoker may smoke five to seven joints a day, even less when potent high-quality flower tops are available.

While tens of millions of Americans smoke pot regularly, cannabis has never caused a known case of lung cancer as of December 1997, according to America’s foremost lung expert, Dr. Donald Tashkin of UCLA. He considers the biggest health risk to the lungs would be a person smoking 16 or more “large” spliffs a day of leaf/bud because of the hypoxia of too much smoke and not enough oxygen.

Tashkin feels there is no danger for anyone to worry about potentiating emphysema “in any way” by the use of marijuana totally the opposite of tobacco.

Cannabis is a complex, highly evolved plant. There are some 400 compounds in its smoke. Of these, 60 are presently known to have therapeutic value.

Cannabis may also be eaten, entirely avoiding the irritating effects of smoke. However, four times more of the active ingredients of smoked cannabis are absorbed by the human body than when the same amount is eaten. And the prohibition inflated price of black market cannabis, combined with harsh penalties for cultivation, prevent most persons from being able to afford the luxury of a less efficient, though healthier, means of ingestion.

Truth is
Truth is

Saadiq,I feel there is only 1 "idiot" here and it is the person who takes a well established fact, Marijuana IS the least harmful of all CURRENTLY LEGAL substances, alcohol and tobacco, this fact has been proved time and time again, and attempts to refute it with utter nonsense that has no scientific basis!Research the rhesus monkeys who were sacrificed for bogus claims! The study you refer to has been exposed as the sham it is by the scientific community, much like the killing brain cells "study" in which the monkeys were killed!!SMOKING anything is not the safest way to ingest it, but marijuana through a vaporizer removes that risk! It is NOT the marijuana but the SMOKE! And it is not anywhere near what you claim!So.... DO YOUR RESEARCH before you start running YOUR MOUTH, but if you did that, you would know that cannabis has been used SAFELY as a medicine since the FIRST Pharmacopeia in ANCIENT times!

For more than 3,500 years, cannabis/hemp/marijuana has been, depending on the culture or nation, either the most used or one of the most widely used plants for medicines. This includes: China, India, the Middle and Near East, Africa, and pre-Roman Catholic Europe (prior to 476 A.D.).

From 1850 to 1937, cannabis was used as the prime medicine for more than 100 separate illnesses or diseases in U.S. Pharmacopoeia.

ZZardozz
ZZardozz

Then show me the victims of cannabis smoke who have cancer then? Show me the bodies, or shut up. Show me the millions that are supposed to have gone on to heroin long ago. Why don't we hear horror stories about the MANY long term cannabis users, like myself, who have been using cannabis without problem for 40 plus years? I've done about 45 years of personal research, pal.

BruceH
BruceH

Again with the strawman argument. This has nothing to do with the government protecting it's citizens from harm. Otherwise many large corporations would be out of business.

But please, entertain us and post these scientific, medical links to this research.

Tesla69
Tesla69

I'm quite sick of the govt "protecting me from harm". Get them out of our lives, get the cops out of our culture,

Truth Is
Truth Is

Brucie,You can't find them yourself? You haven't heard about any of the research yourself? NIXON did a "study" on it! LaGuardia did a full report on it! Are you REALLY that ignorant of the facts or are you just a wise-ass looking to engage people because there is no-one to talk to at home?

For my sake I will assume that you are really that ignorant....

START HERE:Read the U.S. government-sponsored research as outlined by Cohen & Stillman, Therapeutic Potential of Marijuana, 1976; Roffman, Roger, Marijuana as Medicine, 1980; Mikuriya, Tod, M.D., Marijuana Medical Papers, 1972; also, the work of Dr. Norman Zinberg; Dr. Andrew Weil; Dr. Lester Grinspoon; and the U.S. Government’s Presidential Commission reports [Shafer Commission] from 1969 through 1972; Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Tel Aviv/ Jerusalem Univ., 1964-97; W.B. O’Shaugnessy monograph, 1839; and the long-term Jamaican studies I & II, 1968-74; Costa Rican studies through 1982; U.S. Coptic studies, 1981; Ungerlieder; U.S. military studies since the 1950s and ‘60s.)

The 1839 report on the uses of cannabis by Dr. W.B. O’Shaugnessy, one of the most respected members of the Royal Academy of Science, was just as important to mid-19th century Western medicine as the discoveries of antibiotics (like penicillin and Terramycin) were to mid-20th century medicine.

From 1850 to 1937, the U. S. Pharmacopoeia listed cannabis as the primary medicine for more than 100 separate illnesses or diseases.

The American Medical Association (AMA) and drug companies testified against the l937 Marijuana Tax Act because cannabis was known to have so much medical potential and had never caused any observable addictions or death by overdose.

The possibility existed, they argued, that once the active ingredients in cannabis (such as THC Delta-9) were isolated and correct dosages established, cannabis could become a miracle drug.

Twenty-nine years would pass, however, before American scientists could begin to even look into cannabis medicine again.

BruceH
BruceH

If you follow the path of this thread you will clearly see that I was responding to the strawman argument that Saadiq was making. He has done it twice in these replies. I asked him to show us these links to the research that supports his blatant misinformation. I know this person won't just as they won't actually engage in any real debate. This I can assure you. I wouldn't be surprised if Saadiq is being paid to reply to threads like this in order to create an atmosphere of lies. Only we know the truth, Saadiq is the only one lying here.

The reality is I already knew about all the bullets of info that you posted (and thank you) without looking them up AGAIN. I fully support the legalization of all drugs, personally it makes me ill that any one group of people believe that they should have this kind of control over another group of people.

I don't think we're doing any favors by arguing the merits of health when speaking about cannabis in particular as I know it has nothing to do with the legal status of this plant.

The article clearly states, and they admit, that it creates overtime, training and the added ability for law enforcement to meet their quotas. Aside from local law enforcement many other groups rely on cannabis, the most widely USED illegal substance, for their existence.

If you had read down a few replies you would have clearly seen my stance. I was merely calling this person out and calling his statements what they were, red herrings or strawmen arguments.

brahcali
brahcali

A lot of misinformation here. Cigarettes and cannabis are not comparable. There is some research that using cannabis may actually aid in combating some lung related health issues.

Frankiebones
Frankiebones

Hopefully the author pointed out to Deputy Inspector Kim Royster that the drop between 1996-2010 was nationwide and therefore not connected to NYC laws in any way. Is Kim Royster a liar or stupid? There is no other option (I guess she could be both).

BruceH
BruceH

For every 1,000 pot smokers there are only a handful of "hard" drug users. . . if you don't count prescription drugs I suppose. Either way pot, as admitted in the article, pays for the rest of the failed drug war.

And personally, I could care less if cops earn overtime pay, especially in this financial climate. Training for rookie cops? Really? I'm sure this "training" comes right out of our pockets isn't it sufficient enough? And f*ck their quotas. BTW.

Government
Government

Estonia recognizes cannabis as a part of nature and it's against to any logical sense to keep it's status illegal, therefore Estonia is about to legalize cannabis by taxing and regulating it. Also raising taxes for alcohol and tobacco which causes more harm to human health than cannabis, if any.

Saadiq
Saadiq

just because something is apart of nature doesn't mean it is not harmful to humans. Poison Ivy is apart of nature, so should we start using that too. Come up with a real argument.

ZZardozz
ZZardozz

Yeah, sticks are nature too, but if you poke one in your eye, you'll have problems. You use a idiotic analogy like that and then say come up with a real argument? Come up with one yourself.

BruceH
BruceH

Poison Ivy, for some, causes a rash that itches and if left uncared for can be quite serious. Using your example water could also be placed on that list. Should we put a few hundred thousand people in prison for water as well?

I suspect you are creating a strawman argument and will no doubt not return to argue any further. People that think with their minds and can differentiate between thought and emotion will, without question, know the difference.

If I choose to jump out of a plane with only a parachute for survival then why can't I smoke pot?

Pizzaboy3212003
Pizzaboy3212003

"She pointed out that between 1981 and 1995, there were 9.5 million index crimes, and 26,000 murder victims. Between 1996-2010, the number of index crimes dropped to 3.8 million, and the number of homicide victims dropped to 9,300."

I think Steven Levitt would have something to say about this 'drop' in crime rates.

workingmandead
workingmandead

As for Kim Royster's statistics on drop in crime. It dropped everywhere country during that time frame. Watch Freakanomics

brahcali
brahcali

Yes, exactly. This is a case of correlation not causation. And who knows what went in to her statistics anyway? Low level crime? How about some real statistics related to cannabis and not this diversion tactic.

Paul
Paul

What they need to do is make selling marijuana a capital offense. This would cut way down on expenses.

Fallen
Fallen

With that logic, we should just make j3rkign off a capital offense. This would cut down on tissues.

Frank
Frank

Your lack of economic knowledge is only surpassed by your lack of morals.

KP
KP

How about we make money off of it, by legalizing it and taxing it like every other drug we have?

Or do you actually believe that its more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco?

ZZardozz
ZZardozz

The least harmful of all substances is the one that they fight the most. But, now that they announced that they will allow THC in Big Pharma medications, at a huge, hefty price, we can see why they have these policies. Notice that they don't claim that the Big Pharma THC meds lead to heroin, but they claim that cannabis does. How does that work? It's like saying it's ok to take vitamin C pills, but it's illegal to eat an orange.

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