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Stop and Frisk Statistics as a Basis for Determining Communities Most Harmed By the Drug Laws

Stop and Frisk Statistics as a Basis for Determining Communities Most Harmed By the Drug Laws

July 27, 2022

One of the key decisions yet to be announced by the Cannabis Control Board as a licensing criteria, is the specific geographic designation of the New York communities that were disproportionally impacted by the War on Drugs. Applicants from these communities who want to open a dispensary will receive additional points in the official scoring of their application if they live in and/or want to open their dispensary inside the communities. An important part of the legalization legislation is social equity which is measured by the potential benefit to communities most adversely effected by the criminalization of marijuana. The goal is to offer an economic benefit not only to people incarcerated for cannabis activities but also to benefit the communities that suffered under overly harsh drug laws. What is the best way to measure the disproportionate impact of cannabis prohibition? Perhaps the readily available statistics of destructive policing—the key measure—is the record of Stop and Frisks. (The arbitrary and unjustified stop of an individual who is subjected to a search.) Stop and Frisks terrorized individuals and destroyed the fabric of communities, by creating unnecessary confrontations between the police community members, encouraging racist interactions, and normalizing the violation of basic rights. 

An analysis by the NYC ACLU revealed that innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 5 million times since 2002, and that Black and Hispanic communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. At the height of Stop-and-Frisk in 2011 under the Bloomberg administration, over 685,000 people were stopped. Nearly 9 out of 10 stopped-and frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent.

The highest number occurred in 2011.

  • 605,328 were innocent (88 percent).
  • 350,743 were Black (53 percent).
  • 223,740 were Latinx (34 percent).
  • 61,805 were white (9 percent).
  • 341,581 were aged 14-24 (51 percent). 

Deborah Hrbek is the founding member of NY Cannabar, an interdisciplinary group of professionals including doctors, lawyers and drug policy experts who worked to make medical marijuana more widely available, established in 2018. Now as marijuana becomes legal for recreational use, we can help you prepare for the application process by forming your business and by providing guidance regarding all legal and regulatory requirements you need to establish a successful cannabis business in this evolving environment. Hrbek Law is committed to facilitating a network of cannabis industry professionals who are facing the same challenges and want to be on the cutting edge of marijuana legislation.  

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