Philadelphia police have their own agenda, and don’t care about what the people or their city council has to say. In just one month after city council approved a measure decriminalizing small amounts of pot, cops arrested 264 people for pot possession according to data pulled by Philadelphia Magazine.
Granted, the decriminalization measure won’t go into effect until September and the number is down significantly from 476 people one year ago, but it’s clear the cops aren’t giving up their ability to harass people just yet.
PhillyMag.com broke down the stats last week, determining that out of the 264 arrests, 124 people were charged with additional crimes (mostly other drugs) but 140 were charged solely with marijuana possession. Nothing else. Just pot. So, basically the cops were wasting their time on the exact “crime” they were told to not waste their time with any longer.
Councilman Jim Kenny, who introduced the decriminalization measure, says the move is amoral and unethical to say the least.
“The issue for me is that we have a 26-percent poverty rate,” Kenny tells Philadelphia Magazine. “I need to have everyone working. And for a lot of these people, it is impossible to get jobs, all over a nickel bag of cannabis or a couple of joints.”
What isn’t clear from the data provided to PhillyMag is what the racial breakdown of the arrests is. Though, if past statistics are any indication: it’s going to be heavily racially biased. As much as 83 percent of marijuana arrests in 2013 were black and that likely isn’t going to change overnight.