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.
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.
The Drug Policy Alliance aims to reduce the number, racially disproportionate nature, and potential collateral consequences of marijuana arrests, as well as other harms resulting from marijuana prohibition.
City Council Members Join Community Leaders to Deliver Mock Proclamation to Bloomberg for Making NYC the "Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World"
Blacks and Latinos Comprise 86% of Arrests Even though White Youth More Likely to Use Marijuana; Most Arrests Are the Result of Illegal Searches, Cost NY Taxpayers $75 Million A Year
New York, NY – Community leaders and City Council members will gather tomorrow at Mayor Bloomberg's Upper East Side house to call for an end to the Mayor's costly, biased marijuana arrest crusade. The arrests are largely the result of illegal searches, have led to staggering racial disparities, and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year.
What: Bloomberg for making NYC #1 in Marijuana Arrests: Racial Bias, Illegal Searches, Fiscal Waste
When: Wednesday May 25, 2011 – 10 a.m.
Most of NYPD’s 100,000's of Frisks Are Illegal; Marijuana Possession Arrests in New York Skyrocket Because of Unlawful Searches
Illegal Searches by the NYPD Contribute to 50,000 Marijuana Arrests in NYC in 2010; 86 percent of Those Arrested are Blacks and Latinos
In New York City, there is increased media attention and public debate about both marijuana possession arrests and the New York City Police Department practice of "stop-and-frisk." As the number of stops and frisks have increased dramatically, so too have the arrests for marijuana possession. Despite the fact that marijuana possession was decriminalized in New York in 1977, marijuana possession is now the number one arrest in New York City. More than 50,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010 alone, comprising one out of every seven arrests (15 percent).
In New York City, there is increased media attention and public debate about both marijuana possession arrests and the New York City Police Department practice of "stop-and-frisk." As the number of stops and frisks have increased dramatically, so too have arrests for marijuana possession. Despite the fact that marijuana possession was decriminalized in New York in 1977, marijuana possession is now the number one arrest in New York City. More than 50,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010 alone, comprising one out of every seven arrests (15 percent).
Reason.tv caught up with DPA's Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann at DPA's re:FORM Art Auction in Los Angeles, where he pointed out that the only way to move forward on marijuana legalization is for states to start taking risks by abandoning prohibition laws and setting up the conflict with the feds.
In March 2011, the Drug Policy Alliance and the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives released a major report about the cost of marijuana possession arrests in NYC — at $75 million a year, the costs is quite high.
DPA and IJJRA asked groups across NYC how they would like the City to spend $75 million, instead of arresting people for marijuana possession. This fact sheet details their responses.
Despite New York state decriminalizing marijuana possession in 1977, New York City is the marijuana arrest capital of the world. Recent changes in policing practices that take advantage of a loophole in the law led to over 50,000 marijuana possession arrests in 2010 and 2011. This issue brief examines New York's marijuana laws, the impact of policing policy and practices, and solutions that would save the state over $75 million a year.
At Hearings of New York State Assembly Committees On Codes And On Corrections, Albany, New York
Testimony by Queens College Sociologist Harry Levine regarding the high number of marijuana possession arrests in New York City, and the collateral consequences of this police enforcement policy.
National Development and Research Institutes, Inc.
New York Civil Liberties Union