Reducing the Harms of Marijuana Prohibition

Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. These arrests fall disproportionately on blacks and Latinos, even though white people use marijuana at similar rates.
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.

New Mexico State Representative Emily Kane Introduces Bill to Reduce Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

DPA: Reducing Marijuana Penalties will Improve Lives, Save Taxpayer's Dollars and Significantly Reduce the Burden on Law Enforcement Resources

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that DEA Does Not Have to Reconsider Marijuana's Schedule I Status

DPA Statement: Feds Are Creating a Catch-22 For Research and Policy

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in a case challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration’s designation of marijuana as a Schedule I substance.  The court was to decide whether the DEA followed its own rules when making the decision not to review scientific evidence that supports removing marijuana from Schedule I. Today, the court ruled that the DEA did adhere to their rules and did not have to reconsider the scheduling of marijuana.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

Governor Cuomo Makes Passionate Call for Smart Marijuana Policy Reform in State of the State Address

Cuomo: Marijuana Arrests That "Stigmatize and Criminalize...Must End Now"

Proposal Would Standardize Penalties, End Tens of Thousands of Annual Unlawful, Biased Marijuana Possession Arrests

NEW YORK: Today in his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo made a passionate call for reforming New York’s marijuana possession laws in order to reduce unlawful, biased, and costly arrests. The governor noted the discrepancy in the law between public and private possession of small amounts of marijuana, and proposed standardizing penalties for possession.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264

Please Think of the Children, and Legalize Marijuana

December 3, 2012
Amanda Reiman

Zero tolerance drug policies in high schools, undercover officers soliciting marijuana from teens, and sanctions involving the removal of support for education and employment are forcing young people into a hopeless maze of stigma, poverty and the criminal justice system.

Colorado Amendment 64

November 6, 2012

This is the law that was passed by the voters in Colorado legalizing and regulating marijuana.

Washington I-502

November 6, 2012

This is the law that was passed by the voters in Washington State legalizing and regulating marijuana.

Legislative Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee To Hear Testimony On Decreasing Penalties for Adults who Possess Small Amounts of Marijuana

DPA: Reducing Marijuana Penalties will Improve Lives, Save Taxpayer's Dollars and Significantly Reduce the Burden on Law Enforcement Resources

Santa Fe, NM - Tomorrow, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will be testifying to the Interim Legislative Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee about the importance of decreasing penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana. DPA is scheduled to present at 10 am in Room 307 at the State Capitol in Santa Fe.

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach (505) 920-5256 or Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Tuesday at 4pm: Elected Officials, Community Members Rally on Steps of City Hall to Call on GOP to Pass Cuomo Decriminalization Bill and End Illegal Marijuana Arrests and Racially Biased Police Practices

New Human Rights Watch Report Confirms that Marijuana Arrests Do Not Increase New York’s Public Safety

Illegal Searches and Manufactured Misdemeanor Arrests Make Marijuana Possession #1 Arrest in NYC and 15% of All Arrests; Cost to Taxpayers is $75 Million

Contact: gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264, Jeremy Saunders 917-676-8041 or Kyung Ji Rhee 347-712-0259

New Report: 210,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests in Colorado in the Last 25 Years

Blacks and Latinos Disproportionately Arrested

Colorado Voters to Decide on Making Marijuana Possession Legal With November Vote

With just two weeks remaining before Colorado's voters decide whether to make marijuana possession legal in their state, a new report -- "210,000 Marijuana Arrests In Colorado, 1986-2010" -- reveals that more than 200,000 people have been arrested in Colorado since 1986.  Police made more than half of those marijuana arrests in just the last 10 years.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or

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