This week's New York includes an expansive feature on marijuana use in NYC, written by Mark Jacobson, a self-described pothead who first turned on in Alley Pond Park, Queens. Maybe we're just really stoned, but this article is waaaay long, so let's, um, break it up:
- NYC is the marijuana-arrest capital of the country and maybe the world. Since 1997, 430,000 people age 16 and older have been pinched in the city for possession of marijuana, often for quantities as little as a joint.
- More than 80 percent of those arrested on pot charges are either black or Hispanic.
- Startlingly, those handcuffed tokers with small amounts of herb were probably not breaking the law, because possession of 25 grams, or seven-eighths of an ounce, has not been a crime in New York State since the passage of the Marijuana Reform Act of 1977. The catch is that it can't be "burning or open to public view."
- So cops work around that law by telling perps, "You don't have anything in your pocket you’re not supposed to have, do you, because if you do and I find it, it’ll be a lot worse for you." When the gullible suspect, hoping for leniency, reveals the hidden contraband to the cop, it is suddenly "open to public view" and the game is on.
- Richard Gottfried, the Upper West Side State Assemblyman who authored the 1977 Reform Act, is confident medical marijuana is on the immediate horizon for New York. He notes that it was passed by the Assembly in 2007, thinks it would have gotten through the Senate this past spring if the coup hadn't happened: "Strange as it sounds, I think this is one issue that might actually be nonideological. During the floor debate, these legislators, liberal and conservative, were almost in tears as they told their personal stories about how they and their loved ones had been helped by marijuana."
- In the meantime, Danny Danko, the senior cultivation editor of High Times magazine meets every week with a club of cannabis connoisseurs. Their location is secret, but Jacobson stops by to do, uh, research on a wide range of top-shelf herb. Danko calls marijuana growing "an act of alchemy."
In the end, besides getting coveted access to the High Times "tasting" club, Jacobson scores a sweet discount from the weed dealer he interviewed for the article. Nice work if you can get it! Any dealers with primo stuff who'd like share their side of the story with Gothamist should contact us at once.