New York City's pledge to stop making so many marijuana arrests is playing out on the streets, where arrests and summonses for small-time pot possession have fallen sharply, the Associated Press reports. After a mid-November turn toward violations and summonses instead of misdemeanor arrests for carrying modest amounts of pot, such arrests plunged by 75 percent in December compared to the year before, from about 1,820 to 460, according to state Division of Criminal Justice Services statistics. The November numbers fell 42 percent, from 2,200 to 1,280.
Summonses have fallen by about 10 percent since the policy change, to 1,180, compared to the same period a year ago, New York Police Department figures show. “Since the inception of our policy in 2014, marijuana enforcement activity is trending down in all categories” for the bottom-rung marijuana charge, said Deputy Chief Kim Royster. Critics who decried the once-spiking arrests see the decline as promising. They say it's too early to draw lasting conclusions, especially since low-level arrests and summonses of all kinds plummeted for a few weeks after the deadly shootings of two officers Dec. 20. “Clearly, progress is being made,” but it needs to continue and deepen, said Gabriel Sayegh, the Drug Policy Alliance's New York state director.