Here, in the pointless arrest of Ms. Zucker, is a crime that is not even on the books: the staggering waste of spirit, the squandering of public resources, the follies disguised as crime-fighting. About 40,000 people a year — the vast majority of them young black and Latino men — are fed like widgets onto a conveyor belt of arrest, booking and court, after being told to empty their pockets and thus commit the misdemeanor of “open display” of marijuana. Such arrests are a drain on the human economy.

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