Harry G. Levine


Department of Sociology

Queens College, City University of New York

Flushing, New York 113

718- 997-2800  /  Email: Harry.Levine@QC.cuny.edu



Harry G. Levine is Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.  He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. from Brandeis University.


His research and writings have focused on drugs, alcohol, and food in historical context.  His work has received seven distinguished scholarship awards for historical and sociological research about addiction, alcohol prohibition and regulation, international drug policy, crack cocaine, the war on drugs, and racial bias in marijuana arrests. 


His current research examines the scandalous epidemic of arrests and summonses for marijuana possession and other minor offenses in New York City and throughout the U.S.  – disproportionately of young blacks and Latinos who use marijuana at lower rates than young whites.  In partnership with the ACLU, NAACP, Drug Policy Alliance, and Latino civil rights groups, he has issued reports, articles, and testimony on the costs, damaging consequences, and racial disparities of arrests for possession of even tiny amounts of marijuana. 


His research has shown that the large numbers of marijuana possession arrests are the direct result of the many stops, frisks and searches conducted by the New York Police Department and other big city police departments.  His work has been cited in editorials and news stories in the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesNational Public Radio, WNYC, Associated Press, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, and other prominent publications. It has served as a model such research in the U.S. and internationally and contributed to the ongoing reform of marijuana policy, policing and law in New York and elsewhere.



Marijuana-Arrests.Com - An on-line library of journalism and research on race and police policy, stop and frisks, arrest and ticket quotas, collateral consequences, marijuana possession arrests, and the NYPD .  Photos, graphs, tables, testimony, reports and excerpts from many newspaper stories.











Unjust and Unconstitutional: 60,000 Jim Crow Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio's New York – July 2017
Report that became a model for New York Times major investigative articles in 2018 and NYC policy change

Truth, Race, Hidden Data, and Routine Policing in New York City – March 2017
Testimony for The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing, March 21, 2017


Race, Class and Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio's Two New Yorks - Nov 2014
14 page report that helped persuade the New York City to significantly reduce the arrests

Examining the Operations of New York City’s Summons Courts:
Testimony to the New York City Council, Dec 2014

The Scandal of Racist Marijuana Arrests - The Nation - Nov 2013
Feature article about policing patterns throughout the U.S.


National Disgrace: The Racist Marijuana Arrests, April 2013
Interview, The New Inquiry

One Million Police Hours: Making 440,000 Marijuana Arrests in New York City, 2002-2012March 2013 
Report about police time and resources devoted to making marijuana possession arrests since Bloomberg became mayor

Bloomberg's Marijuana Arrest Crusade is ... Softened?  Feb 2013
Short oped about the "reform" announced in the Mayor's State of the City Address 

Police Stops, Illegal Searches, And Marijuana Possession Arrests
Testimony to New York City Council, October 2012. 

210,000 Marijuana Arrests in Colorado - Oct 2012

240,000 Marijuana Arrests in Washington - Oct 2012

Testimony to the New York State Senate Regarding Marijuana Arrests – June 2011
Includes new data showing NYPD arrests by precinct and arrests in 13 counties and cities in NY State

$75 Million A Year: The Cost of New York City's Marijuana Possession Arrests - March 2011
Report released with the Drug Policy Alliance about the cost of arresting and prosecuting 50,000 people a year

Arresting Blacks for Marijuana in California, 2007-2009 - Oct 2010
Report released with California NAACP about disproportionate arrests of blacks for marijuana possession in 25 counties and 25 cities

Arresting Latinos for Marijuana in California, 2007-2009 -  Oct 2010
Report released with Latino civil rights group about the disproportionate arrests of Latinos for marijuana possession in 33 California cities.

The Epidemic of Pot Arrests in New York City – Aug 09 / Alternet
Op-ed with 2008 arrest data and info on racially-biased pot arrests nationally

 Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City, 1997-2007 – May 2008
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) report, 100 pages /



Full Text of Selected Publications (most are a pdf which can take a moment to load)

Marijuana Madness: New York City's Racist Marijuana Arrests   46 page state-of-the-art chapter in a book about the NYPD / Jan 2015

Pastrami Land: The Jewish Deli in New York City   Contexts Magazine / July 07

Troy Duster: A Biography in History American Sociological Association / Footnotes (Oct 2004)

Regard Yourself As a Writer: Unconventional Advice For New Sociology Graduate Students (Still circulating, comments welcomed)

The New Dual-Track Drug Policy Paradigm, Nordic Studies On Alcohol And Drugs, 2007

Safe Treyf: New York Jews and Chinese Food  From: The Taste of American Place: A Reader on Regional and Ethnic Foods (1997)

The Vocabulary of Drunkenness  Journal of Studies on Alcohol, (all the words for drunkenness in English, 1981)

Temperance Cultures: Concern About Alcohol Problems in Nordic and English-Speaking Cultures   (1992)

The Secret of World-Wide Drug Prohibition: The Uses and Varieties of Drug Prohibition  The Independent Review, Fall 2002

Global Drug Prohibition: Its Uses and Crises  (Revised version of the above with new material for a European audience, The International Journal of Drug Policy, Spring 2003

Drug Arrests and DNA: Building Jim Crow's Database – 2000 word "abstract" in GeneWatch - Dec 08

Drug Arrests and DNA: Building Jim Crow's Database – full paper with graphs and notes – Jan  09

Crack In The Rearview Mirror: Deconstructing Drug War Ideology  Social Justice, 2004

Crack In America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice University of California Press, 1997

Crack in Context: America's Latest Demon Drug Chapter 1 of Crack in America

Global Drug Policy: A Retreat from War Contexts (new ASA magazine) Fall 2002

Blame Canada: The Specter of Marijuana Decriminalization in Canada Pacific News Service, July 2002

Drug Commissions, The Next Generation: To Boldly Go......  International Journal of Drug Policy (1994)

Alcohol Prohibition and Drug Prohibition: Lessons from Alcohol Prohibition for Drug Prohibition (Nov 2004)

The Birth Of American Alcohol Control: Prohibition, the Power Elite, and the Problem of Lawlessness  Contemporary Drug Problems,  1985

The Discovery of Addiction: Changing Conceptions of Habitual Drunkenness in America  From: Journal of Studies on Alcohol (a golden oldie from 1978)












From Pulitzer-prize winning editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin
in The New Republic, February 26, 1972


















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