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's House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee Passes HB465 - Representative Emily Kane's Bill Reducing Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

Santa Fe, NM – This afternoon, the New Mexico’s Legislative House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted in support of House Bill 465, reducing penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana.  The proposed legislation reduces the penalty structure for possession of up to 4 ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines while taking away the potential for jail time for any amount up to 8 ounces.  Currently, in New Mexico, possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor crime with fines and possible jail time; over 1 ounce and up to 8 o

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256

Tuesday Press Conference: New Poll Shows New Mexico's Growing Momentum for Marijuana Policy Reform

Two New Mexico State Legislators Introduce Marijuana Reform Legislation Calling for a New Approach

SANTA FE – New polling data about New Mexican’s attitudes towards changes in marijuana policy will be released tomorrow during a press event presented by the Drug Policy Alliance. The new data reflects the state’s shifting outlook on marijuana policy reform and that a majority of New Mexico voters are in favor of reforming our current marijuana laws. The poll was conducted by Research & Polling, Inc. in February, 2013.

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

Mayor Bloomberg Announces New Marijuana Policy: Marijuana Possession Arrests Will Lead to Desk Appearance, Not Overnight Jail

Advocates: Good First Step, But Gov. Cuomo’s  Bill to Stop Arrests Must Pass

In his State of the City speech today, Mayor Bloomberg announced a new police policy: those arrested for marijuana in New York City will no longer have to spend a night in jail.

The Mayor said:

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384

DPA Staff Presentations at the 2013 California NORML Conference

January 26, 2013

Several DPA staff members spoke as panelists at California NORML's 2013 conference on January 26-27 in San Francisco. The conference explored the history, causes and costs of marijuana prohibition -- and strategies for ending it.

Uruguay Recommends Eating or Inhaling Marijuana

February 14, 2013

English Translation

Campaign seeks to raise awareness on the harms of the drug

Uruguay will ask marijuana consumers to eat or inhale the substance instead of smoking it in order to at least reduce the harms that it causes and to foment responsible use of drugs.

Marijuana Legalization in Washington State and Colorado (English/Spanish)

February 12, 2014

In November 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington State took the historic step of rejecting the decades-long failed policy of marijuana prohibition by deciding to permit the legal regulation of marijuana sales, cultivation and distribution for adults. This document explains why states can chart a different course without violating federal law, and summarizes the similarities and differences between Colorado and Washington State’s new laws.

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.

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