Over the course of my career, I've been the marijuana lawyer to more than 100 clients.
During a recent 10-year period, the New York City Police Department arrested more than 350,000 people for possessing small amounts of marijuana.* This number is 10 times greater than the number of marijuana arrests made in each of the two preceding 10-year periods.
The huge leap in marijuana arrests did not result from increased marijuana use, which peaked in 1980. Rather, it is a deliberately oppressive police tactic designed to accomplish several NYPD policy goals.
Marijuana arrests provide a relatively safe, easy way for the NYPD:
- To collect fingerprints, mug shots, names, addresses, telephone numbers, and DNA profiles from residents of the New York City Metropolitan Area.
- To demonstrate that the NYPD is being productive.
- To provide overtime pay to police officers.
Many people believe marijuana possession should be legalized in New York for medical use, and for responsible personal use.+ Until that happens, possessing marijuana remains a crime.
As a criminal defense attorney in NYC, I've represented many people accused of possessing or selling marijuana.
See H.G. Levine & D.P. Small, "Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City, 1997-2007", for a detailed discussion of NYPD marijuana arrests.
For example, go to http://norml.org/