What's the point? http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/84515/ NYC's Staggering Arrest Rate for Pot Achieved By Police Deception and Scams By Steven Wishnia, AlterNet. Posted May 9, 2008. New study says New York's cannabis crackdown is both racist and fraudulent -- and that more have been arrested under Bloomberg than Giuliani. New York City has been the pot-bust capital of the world for a decade, since Rudolph Giuliani's decision to make public toking a top police priority. A new study sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union says the city's cannabis crackdown is both racist and fraudulent. New York police have arrested almost 400,000 people for misdemeanor marijuana possession in the last decade. Last year, there were 39,700 such arrests. The vast majority of those seized have been black and Latino men, most under 25. And according to the NYCLU study, released last week, thousands of them are the victims of police scams, falsely charged with possession of marijuana "burning or open to public view." "We are confident in estimating that about two-thirds to three-quarters of the people arrested were not smoking marijuana," the study says. "Usually they were doing their utmost to keep their marijuana concealed, generally deep inside their clothing." The authors, sociologist Harry Levine of Queens College and activist Deborah Peterson-Small of the organization Break The Chains, say that conclusion is "based on the experience of legal aid and public-defender attorneys who have handled thousands of these cases, along with that of the police officers and arrestees we interviewed." New York State decriminalized marijuana in 1977. That reduced possession of less than 25 grams is a violation, carrying a $100 fine and no criminal record. But smoking or possession in public is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to three months in jail. So in order to get around the constitutional restrictions on searches and find a valid reason to make an arrest, police have to use deception.