September 21, 2011

Shortly before he first ran for office, Michael Bloomberg was asked by New York magazine if he had ever smoked marijuana. "You bet I did. And I enjoyed it," he answered bluntly. The quote would become the basis of an ad campaign by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, but it would never have any effect on Bloomberg's own practice of aggressively (and, some say, illegally) arresting people for the possession of even meager amounts of pot once he became mayor...According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, more than 600,000 New Yorkers were stopped and frisked last year. Of them, 317,642 were black (53 percent), and 190,491 were Latino (32 percent). Just 55,083 (9 percent) were white. About 70 percent of them were under 30. And they are inexplicably, lopsidedly male. As NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman notes: "Ninety percent of the people arrested for misdemeanors [for pot] are male. Ninety percent. There is no such gender breakdown for marijuana."