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The Pot Bust Trick

City Councilman Daniel Dromm is locking horns with the mayor over the NYPD’s handling of marijuana arrests.

According to data that he cited, 50,683 people in the city were arrested for the lowest level of marijuana possession in 2011. More people have been arrested under Bloomberg’s administration than under Mayors Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani combined. More than 86 percent of those arrested were black or Latino.

In 1977, the state classified marijuana possession of 25 grams or less for personal use as a violation. That means the person in possession of the pot does not get a criminal record.

But there is a catch. If the marijuana is in public view, it becomes a misdemeanor. When a police officer orders a suspect to empty his or her pockets, a violation can become a misdemeanor.

There are strong arguments on both sides on the marijuana debate. But Dromm is right: Police should not be using a trick to turn a violation into a misdemeanor.

Taking Out Trash

In case anyone thought the death of John Gotti and the alleged change of heart by his son marked the end of the Gambino crime family in Howard Beach, think again. Four members of the family pleaded guilty in federal court to crimes that included narcotics trafficking, extortion, assault, loansharking, racketeering and gambling.

Two of these thugs also admitted to taking part in a scheme to arrange for women to enter the country illegally and then have them work in strip clubs, three of which are in Queens.

These men face the possibility of life sentences, but it is unclear how much time they will get. It is likely a deal was made to get the pleas from these criminals. We congratulate U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the courage to take on the family.

Bharara said the four men and others distributed cocaine, ecstasy and vicodin, which brought the crime family millions of dollars. These are dangerous people, and the people these defendants answered to are even more dangerous.

We hope this is finally the beginning of the end for the Gambinos.

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