Marijuana Policy Project

In New York, Police Continue to Target Pot Smokers

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio dines on pizza (with fork and knife) in Naples, Italy. (Fotonews/Splash News/Corbis)

The latest example of NYPD excess involved a marijuana suspect in Brooklyn. Police claimd Jahmiel Cuffee was rolling a joint. So they took him down and stomped on his head.

There's so much wrong with this story, where should I begin?

Obviously, the marijuana crime in a state where it's decriminalized, yet police continue to arrest users in large numbers (29,000 last year). Even worse, freshman Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to curtail marijuana arrests during his campaign, yet they remain at the same levels as his predecessor Michael Bloomberg. It gets even worse: Despite the NYPD bullying a man to his death in Staten Island on July 18, de Blasio and family headed to Italy for a planned vacation. If these events keep happening in New York it could turn into a "hot summer," and you don't want that.

While Mayor de Blasio feasted on pizza in Italy, New York festered.

In the video below, the reporter doesn't even question the validity of the arrest. It's all about how the police handled it, which of course is poor.

Police Commissioner William Bratton (de Blasio's choice and a crony of another former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani) tried to toss protestors a bone by saying the entire force needs to be retrained. What they need to do is stop arresting people for marijuana. But Bratton's opposed to that and says he'll continue to order pot busts despite Brooklyn DA Kenneth Johnson's intention to throw the majority of them out.

Where is the leadership in New York on this issue? In Italy eating pizza with a fork and knife (boom, Jon Stewart!).

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.