We already know that weed isn’t actually a gateway drug to other, harder substances, and now, there’s compelling evidence that the plant isn’t a path to more serious criminal offenses, either–much to the chagrin of the NYPD, we’re sure. A new study published by Human Rights Watch found that of 30,000 New Yorkers with no prior convictions who were arrested for possession in 2003 and 2004, only 3.1 percent were later arrested and convicted of a violent felony. As Time points out, “the felony conviction rate of people arrested for marijuana in New York was actually lower than the national rate, after controlling for age, race and gender,” meaning that “using marijuana arrests to capture violent criminals may be less effective than simply randomly arresting young men, the group most likely to commit any type of crime.”
Unsurprisingly, the study also found that possession arrests were very skewed towards people of color. Only 17 percent of those arrested during the study period were white, compared to 49 percent for black people and 31 percent for Hispanics.