Press Release  | 06/13/2013

Friday: Elected Officials, Impacted People and Advocacy Groups Join to Call on Albany Leadership to Put Marijuana Arrest Reform Bill on Senate Floor for Vote

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Legislation to Save State Tens of Millions of Dollars Per Year, Bring Fairness and Equity to Broken Marijuana Law Passed Assembly Two Weeks Ago; Senate Must Act Before End of Session to Prevent Tens of Thousands of Illegal Arrests This Year

New ACLU Report Finds That Marijuana Arrests Cost Taxpayers Over $675 Million Per Year; Arrests Lead to Egregious Racial Disparities in All NY Counties

NYC: On Friday, June 14th, New York City elected officials will call on Senate leaders to put to a vote a bill that will end the biased and costly practices of falsely arresting tens of thousands of people in New York for low-level marijuana possession. They will be joined by dozens of advocates and impacted people to urge passage before the legislative session ends next week. The proposal, outlined in Gov. Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State Address, would decriminalize possessing up to 15 grams of marijuana in public view, but smoking in public would remain a misdemeanor. One year ago the NY City Council voted on a resolution to support legislation in Albany to end these arrests. Since that legislation failed to pass last year, nearly 50,000 more people were arrested as a result of this broken law. Fixing the law would help end the practice of arresting tens of thousands of young people per year for possessing marijuana in public view when police demand that someone “empty their pockets “during a stop-and-frisk encounter.

What: Press Conference with NYC elected officials, community groups, and people impacted by ithe costly, unlawful, and racially biased marijuana arrests crusade in NY
When: Friday, June 14th 2012 – 10:00 am.
Where: Steps of City Hall, Manhattan
Who: Scheduled to attend: Elected officials, impacted people, community groups, treatment providers, and advocates

Background

S.3105A(Squadron)/A.6717A(Camara), which passed the Assembly two weeks ago with a strong, bi-partisan vote. The Senate needs to act before the end of session to prevent tens of thousands of unlawful arrests for marijuana possession each year in New York costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars. The reform proposal outlined by Governor Cuomo is supported by dozens of community organizations throughout the state, state legislators, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, all five NYC District Attorneys (Democrat and Republican) and law enforcement from Long Island, Buffalo, and Albany. The New York Times, the Daily News, the New York Post, the Syracuse Times-Standard, and the Buffalo News are among the papers that have written editorials in support the of the reform.

A new ACLU report released found that there are more marijuana possession arrests in NY than in any other state. In 2010, NY made nearly 104,000 marijuana possession arrests, making it the number one state in the country for such arrests. The number two state, Texas, made approximately 74,000 such arrests. New York made nearly twice as many marijuana possession arrests than Florida or California. These arrests cost the state over $675 million dollars in enforcement expenditures. The arrests also made New York the leader in racial disparities nationally – of the 15 counties with the highest Black arrest rates for marijuana possession in New York in 2010, three (or 20%) were in New York – Onondaga (#5), Chautauqua (#10), and Broome (#14).

Contact: gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264 or Jeremy Saunders  917-676-8041

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