Misdemeanor marijuana arrests jumped in January in Fort Greene, leading a local politician to renew his efforts to decriminalize the drug, the Local Fort Greene reports. The 88th Precinct made 26 pot busts in January, almost three times as many as last year, even though citywide marijuana arrests are down since Ray Kelly ordered officers to cut back late last year.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries said the arrests are the direct result of the NYPD’s racially biased stop-and-frisk tactics. (Ninety percent of all those stopped and frisked are black or Latino.) The Local explains:
A police officer can demand that the detained individual empty his pockets. If the person is in possession of even a small quantity of marijuana, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor, rather than a violation, because the drug would now be “in plain view.”
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered his officers to stop making “plain view” arrests during stop-and-frisks, but Mr. Jeffries said that the practice continues.
Jeffries wrote a bill last year that would make plain-view marijuana a violation, not a misdemeanor. The legislation is pending.
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