February 2, 2012
The TIMES metro section reports on this suprising statistic today, revealing that these misdemeanor arrests cost the city an estimated $75 million dollars. In these tight budgetary times, there are certainly many useful things this money could be spent on. It's very similar to the time/money the city wasted on harassing the Occupy protestors last year. What is more alarming about these arrests is that the majority of them, 87% in fact, are for black or hispanics while studies consistently show that marijuana use/possession is much higher with whites.
I am usually not one to get rabble-roused but this situation truly bothers me because it's about more than drugs, it's about basic American rights (against illegal searches, for equal justice) that are being violated in New York every day for the so-called greater good. I can only hope this becomes an issue in the upcoming mayoral campaign as it's a discussion about safety vs. sanity that is long overdue in this city.