by John Del Signore

Low-level pot possession continues to be the number one cause of arrest in NYC; in 2011 the NYPD made 50,680 arrests for low-level marijuana offenses, and half a million have been arrested during the past 15 years.  When asked about this incredible statistic, officials will often point to the ‘broken windows’ policing strategy, which relies on a theory that arresting people for small offenses like pot possession preemptively thwarts criminals for whom smoking weed is just the tip of the iceberg.  But a new study (in full below) from Human Rights Watch tells a very different story . . . .

This presents a gross oversimplification of broken windows theory, but the point is still valid:  arresting people for low-level marijuana possession is not an effective way to tackle crime generally, and is a waste of police and governmental resources.