New York is making tremendous progress as it continues to clean up its cannabis rules
Recently released data shared by the NYPD shows that the rate of marijuana-related arrests and citations has decreased dramatically in New York City since the legalization law went into effect in the state. The first quarter showed a big change and Empire State residents can now rest easy that they won’t have to go behind bars or pay a hefty fine just for enjoying a little marijuana.
While for many, it seems a bit logical and not so surprising to see the arrests decrease once legalization goes into effect, what is really striking is how much of a difference there was compared to other jurisdictions that also legalized the plant earlier. Experts believe that being able to smoke in public is a unique aspect of New York’s marijuana law and that may have a lot to do with it. During the first quarter, a total of 163 arrests for criminal possession of cannabis had been reported; however, in the last quarterly report, that number dropped to only eight. Those individuals most likely exceeded the three ounces of marijuana allowed under current legalization.
In terms of cannabis-related summonses, there was a big difference, going from 3,867 in the first quarter to just eight in April, May and June. Two were reportedly for illegal sale, while the remaining six were for illegal possession of marijuana. The access barrier is still a fact of life in the state as New York has yet to launch recreational cannabis retail sales.
While it is true that in cities in other states, such as Denver, CO, and Chicago, IL, the arrest rate has also dropped exponentially, neither compares to the numbers shown in the Big Apple.