Reducing the Harms of Marijuana Prohibition

Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. Nearly half of all drug arrests each year are for marijuana-related offenses, the overwhelming majority of which are for personal possession. These arrests fall disproportionately on blacks and Latinos, although whites consume marijuana at the same rate or higher. Many of those who are arrested are saddled with a criminal conviction that can make it difficult or impossible to vote, obtain educational loans, get a job, secure housing, or even adopt a child. Additionally, the huge number of marijuana arrests each year usurps scarce law enforcement, criminal justice, and treatment resources at enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers.
 
The Drug Policy Alliance works to reduce the number of marijuana related arrests and associated penalties through crafting and advocating for legislation removing or reducing criminal penalties, initiatives making marijuana arrests the lowest law enforcement priority, and community based policy changes.  
 
DPA also works to expose and reduce rampant, system-wide racial disparities in marijuana arrests. DPA has released reports documenting and detailing chilling disparities in New York City and across California and continues to raise awareness about the unique burden U.S. marijuana policy places on black and Latino communities.
 
Marijuana prohibition has also caused incalculable violence and destruction by fostering an illegal marijuana market.  Organized crime, drug cartels, and gangs are the greatest financial beneficiaries of marijuana prohibition. In Mexico, illegal marijuana sales have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

Wednesday: Elected Officials, Community Groups, Announce New Statewide Legislation to End Unlawful, Racist Marijuana Arrests

Comprehensive Legislation would also Address Racial bias, Collateral Consequences, and Fix Loopholes in NY Marijuana Laws

Despite Dramatic Drop in Stop and Frisk, NYPD on Track to Arrest as many people in 2014 as Previous Year, Racial Disparities Persist

NEW YORK: On Wednesday, July 9th at 11am, elected officials, community members and the coalition, New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety, will rally on the Steps of City Hall to call for comprehensive reform to address racially biased marijuana arrests and devastating collateral consequences.

What: Press Conference to introduce the Fairness and Equity Act -- a comprehensive reform to fix New York’s broken decriminalization law and address collateral consequences

When: Wednesday, July 9th 11am

Republicans Vote to Block Washington, D.C.'s New Marijuana Decriminalization Law

Fight Over Amendment Expected to Move Next to House Floor

Amendment Takes Effect Long After D.C. Marijuana Law Takes Effect, Meaning It May Only Prevent the City from Issuing $25 Fines for Marijuana Possession, Creating De Facto Legalization

Washington, D.C. – This morning the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) prohibiting the District of Columbia from spending any of its locally-raised revenues to carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana. The amendment is directed at a recent law the District of Columbia passed replacing jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use with a small fine.

Contact:  Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Tomorrow: Republicans in Congress May Seek to Block Washington, D.C. from Reforming Its Marijuana Laws

Congressional Interference Comes After D.C. Lawmakers Decriminalize Marijuana to Ease Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Washington, D.C. – Republicans may offer an amendment to a federal appropriations bill tomorrow morning that would prevent the District of Columbia from implementing the marijuana decriminalization law recently passed by the D.C. City Council and signed into law by the mayor in March. The amendment would prohibit spending federal funds or even its locally raised funds to carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana.
 

Contact:   Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Grant Smith (202) 421-5031

Jamaica Poised to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession, Approve Medical and Religious Use, and Expunge Past Offenses

Marijuana Reform Gaining Unprecedented Global Momentum

On Friday, Jamaican Minister of Justice Mark Golding released a statement announcing government support for a proposal to decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and the decriminalization of marijuana use for religious, scientific and medical purposes.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

Marijuana-Infused Products ("Edibles")

June 10, 2014

Marijuana-infused products, often referred to as “edibles”, are an important part of the burgeoning marijuana market. However, proper regulation is necessary to ensure reliability and safety. DPA believes that marijuana-infused products should be regulated and tested to ensure safety, quality and accuracy of information, that they should be labeled with detailed information to ensure that consumers are informed about what they are consuming and educated on how to safely consume, and that all edibles should be kept away from children.

The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding And Rejecting Science

June 9, 2014
Drug Policy Alliance, MAPS

This report, co-published by DPA and MAPS, illustrates a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence. The report’s case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules.

Regulations Accompanying Uruguay's Marijuana Legalization Law

May 28, 2014

This is an English translation of the regulations signed on May 6, 2014 to accompany Uruguay’s marijuana legalization law, passed in December 2013, making Uruguay the first country in the world to legalize the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults. In the regulations, specifics of the system - beyond what was captured in the bill (Law 19.172) - are fleshed out, providing details on forms of access, restrictions and regulatory specifics.

Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay

May 22, 2014

In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana for personal use. This document is a summary of the key provisions of the law.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Slams DEA for Obstructing Kentucky Hemp Research Program and for Seizing Legal Hemp Seeds

Political Battle Builds as DEA Faces Growing Scrutiny for Slew of Scandals: Use of NSA Data to Spy on Virtually All Americans, Massacre of Civilians in Honduras, and Systematic Pattern of Fabricating Evidence
 
DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart Increasingly At Odds With President Obama, Justice Dept., and Congress

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has weighed in on the political firestorm that has ensued since the DEA recently seized legal hemp seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. McConnell told Politico last night, “It is an outrage that DEA is using finite taxpayer dollars to impound legal industrial hemp seeds.” The Kentucky Agriculture Department is suing the agency.

Contact:

Tony Newman: 646-335-5384
 
Bill Piper 202-669-6430
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