A few weeks ago, New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer zipped up a "pinch" of "herb" and four marijuana cookies into his backpack and brazenly carried his stash down Eighth Avenue and on to the subway to prove a point about New York's Stop and Frisk law.

In New York, merely possessing small amounts of marijuana isn't a crime. But "openly displaying" or burning it bumps it up to a misdemeanor, and Dwyer also points out that 87 percent of marijuana arrests in New York are of young black and Latino men. It's exceedingly unlikely that Dwyer, a 56-year-old white man, would ever get caught hiding weed in his backpack.

But for young minorities, Dwyer argues, it's not as likely. Marijuana possession is the number one offense to come out of Stop and Frisk, and Dwyer points out that simply emptying one's pockets can constitute the "openly displayed" requirement of the misdemeanor charge.

But after proving his point, Dwyer — who has already copped to unlawfully possessing weed — admits he didn't smoke it.

As for me, the pot got to a couple of people who might need it to get through some medical storms. It’s too risky for me to use: I already have a hard enough time keeping my backpack zipped.

In New York, the term "sell" means to "sell, exchange, give or dispose of to another." The mere act of giving it to another person can constitute the act of selling. With his final paragraph, Dwyer actually knocks what would have been unlawful possession (in the pursuit of justice) up to a misdemeanor — probably criminal sale of marijuana in the fifth degree.

[image via Shutterstock]