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Blacks, Hispanics Disproportionately Face Marijuana Charges in NYC

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Research shows that whites are more likely to smoke marijuana than members of minority groups, but 87 percent of those arrested in New York City on marijuana charges are black or Hispanic, the New York Times reported Dec. 23.

A decade-long “quality of life” campaign in the city has included arresting individuals for low-level marijuana crimes. The campaign, begun by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has continued and expanded under current Mayor Mike Bloomberg even though Bloomberg has said he smoked and enjoyed marijuana in the past.

In 2009, New York police made 40,300 arrests on misdemeanor marijuana charges, accounting for about 12 percent of all arrests. John Feinblatt, a criminal-justice aide to Bloomberg, said such arrests, “which rarely lead to jail, are concentrated in neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of violent crime because that's where the police focus their attention in order to reduce victimization.”

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