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