Did you know that in the state of New York, you’re technically allowed to carry up to 25 grams of pot on your person without fear of arrest, and have been for almost 40 years? No? That’s probably because—in New York City, at least—cops will usually lock you up for it anyway.

About a year ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton took the stage at a press conference to pose for some memorable photos and to announce that, instead of arresting them, NYC police would begin issuing desk tickets to people caught possessing weed. It sounded like major news—except the state made first-time possession punishable by only a $100 fine way back in 1977.

But the NYPD of the Bloomberg era had a way to circumvent that rule: By using stop-and-frisk. The ‘77 law specifies that you’re only clear to carry weed if it isn’t in public view, but if a cop stops you on the street and asks you to empty your pockets, you’re damned either way. Comply and you’re bringing the baggie into public view and opening yourself to arrest; decline and risk the fury of a policeman scorned. Understandably, many people chose the former option and subsequently found themselves in jail.

De Blasio campaigned on putting an end to racially and economically unfair NYPD practices like stop-and-frisk, and busting people for dimebags, and last year’s announcement looked like a signal that he’d keep his promise. But according to a report in the New York Post, NYPD officers have arrested 18,120 people for pot possession this year up to October 20 and issued less punitive tickets to just 13,081. The number is an improvement over last year, when nearly 30,000 people were arrested, but if de Blasio wants to make good on his promise, it should be somewhere closer to zero.

For now, it’s still best to do what rumormongering cops claim the mayor does himself: smoke your weed at home.

Image via AP. Contact the author at andy@gawker.com.