New York City Spends $75 Million a Year on Pot Busts

A new report from the Drug Policy Alliance alleges that New York City is currently spending something like $75 million every year on low-level marijuana possession charges—the vast majority of which are directed at black and Latino youths.

The DPA calculates that small busts like these cost the city about $2,000 each, and since 2002 police have made some 350,000 such arrests.This seems sort of like a phenomenal waste of money, doesn't it? Especially when you consider that possession of small amounts of marijuana was decriminalized three decades ago, and doesn't require police to arrest offenders.

You could—just, you know, for example—hire 1,600 new teachers with that money. (Maybe those teachers could teach some of the black and Latino kids currently being arrested!) Or, save for three or four years and patch the MTA's budget shortfall. Or you could buy 50 of these dogs and give them to contest winners. I don't know! I'm just spitballing here.

[Drug Policy Alliance via Village Voice; image via Shutterstock]