In March, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told City Council members that the number of marijuana arrests made in New York City are "going down." Today the Post has numbers backing up Kelly's assertion: arrests for marijuana possession are on track to fall by 20% in 2013, and police say that overall enforcement of marijuana laws are taking a back seat to drugs that can actually kill you. “When we have intel on pretty big marijuana cases, we’re being pushed away,” a source tells the tabloid. “It’s, ‘Let’s just focus on pills and cocaine.’ "

According to the The Post's data, which comes from the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, 10,078 people have been arrested for marijuana possession in the city this year through April 23—around a 20% decrease from last year. 2012 saw a 22% decrease from 2011.

Still, marijuana possession was the top reason for arrest in New York City in 2012. Since 1977, it has been a violation, not a misdemeanor, to possess up to 25 grams of marijuana if it is not in public view. Kelly reminded his officers of this in a 2011 memo directing them to stop arresting people who produce marijuana in public at a police officer's request.

Yet the practice remained routine. More than two-thirds of those arrested for marijuana possession—most of them black or Latino, despite the fact that surveys have shown that a higher percentage of whites use marijuana —to display their cannabis in public view after being ordered to do so, and are charged with a misdemeanor.

Many of these prized arrests occur while officers are on overtime.

Earlier this year Mayor Bloomberg announced that people arrested for low-level possession of marijuana would no longer be held in central booking for 24 hours, but would receive a Desk Appearance Ticket. This process still involves being handcuffed, fingerprinted, and driven around in a police vehicle, sometimes for hours on end.

Governor Cuomo's proposal to decriminalize marijuana would have nullified 39,257 of the 40,661 marijuana arrests last year.