Arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York City rose in 2011 for the seventh straight year, the Times reports, despite the police commissioner’s instruction to cops in autumn to cut back. Arrests did decline after September, but because arrests had already been up six percent for the other eight months of the year, the annual total still rose to 50,684 arrests—or two-thirds of 1 percent of all New Yorkers—up less than one percent from the year before but still more arrests for pot than those from 1978 to 1996 COMBINED. More people are arrested for marijuana possession in New York City than for any other crime, at a cost of $75 million to taxpayers.
Marijuana is only illegal in NYC if it’s “in plain view.” (Or, you know, on fire.) NYPD officers would stop pedestrians, tell them to run their pockets, and arrest them if they took marijuana out because, aha, now it was in plain sight. “That’s not the intent of the law,” Ray Kelly told the Times. “That’s what that directive was meant to address.”