According to the Partnership For The Public Good, between 2012 and 2016 there were 2,000 arrests made in Buffalo for low-levels of marijuana possession.
About 86% were people of color, while 13% were whites. However, blacks only make up 38% of the population.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said these type of studies don’t surprise home. In fact, he recently had a case for a black homeless man who was thrown in jail for a small amount of pot.
“I had someone to go over to Buffalo City Court and find out what this all about. After looking into it we decided dismissal was the opposite remedy,” Flynn said.
Michael DeGeorge, Spokesperson for the City of Buffalo, told 7 Eyewitness News there were only 143 marijuana arrests in Buffalo last year. He said the vast majority of the arrests are made after 911 calls from people reporting suspicious activity in their communities. However, Mayor Byron Brown is looking at potential policy changes.
New York Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is pushing to legalize marijuana in New York. She said way too much money is being spent on prosecuting these low-level crimes. It’s also breaking up homes and blocking people of color from getting services to better themselves.
“It’s costing hundreds of millions of dollars to go through the criminal justice systems and the adoption and foster care system,” Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes said.
An Emerson College poll suggests 62% of New York Voters support legalizing weed. Manhattan District Attorney’s Office recently announced it would no longer prosecute low levels of marijuana.