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Five NY Counties With High Marijuana Arrest Rates

Composite photo by Dave Lucas

With lawmakers considering legalization of marijuana in New York, federal data shows about 5 percent of all arrests in the state are for possession of the drug.

Hamilton County tops the list for marijuana possession arrests in New York: 44 percent of all arrests there in 2016 were for possession. Columbia County ranks number two followed by Washington County, where John Winchell is undersheriff.

"Marijuana is still a gateway drug. I'm not looking forward to legalization."

Winchell cites the rural nature of the county and its eastern border with Vermont, where recreational use of pot is legal, as reasons for its proliferation there.

Livingston County is fourth on the list and Schoharie County fifth.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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