Mayor tells police to issue summons instead as figures show in Manhattan black people are 15 times more likely to be arrested for public pot smoking

Bill De Blasio often boasts of being the mayor that stopped people getting arrested for low-level marijuana possession. Yet there were 17,880 arrests last year for personal marijuana consumption, nearly all of them for smoking in public rather than for having with marijuana on their person. The number is considerably lower than under Michael Bloomberg, the previous mayor, but the racial disparity of those arrested is shocking: 86% of those arrested were people of colour. In Manhattan, the figures are even more stark: a New York Times investigation found black people were 15 times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people.

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