THE BRONX - A new study claims if you're male, black or Hispanic and live in a poor neighborhood, you're more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in New York.

The New York Civil Liberties Union found between 1997 and 2007, police arrested and jailed about 350,000 people, and 80 percent of them were minorities. The NYCLU claims racial profiling is a fact of life that many young minorities have to deal with.

"My skin color played a big role in the fact that I was arrested," says Clementine Bata. While Bata is female, she believes her marijuana possession arrest was biased due to her being black. She says the arrest did little to change her habit, but it did change her perception of cops.

The NYPD counters that numbers are "absurdly" inflated, citing that officers only arrested 8,770 during the time frame.

However, former NYPD Detective Marq Claxton supports the study findings. "First off, they manipulate the statistics then they compile it. They put it into a database, send it to the FBI and nobody audits it," Claxton says.

According to the NYCLU, marijuana is such a petty offense that it does not reduce serious or violent crime. The report also found that more whites use marijuana than minorities.

New York Civil Liberties Union