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, 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.

Community Members March to Mayor Bloomberg's House to Protest Out of Control Marijuana Arrest Crusade in NYC

Under Bloomberg, More Than 400,000 People Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges in NYC, at a cost of over $600 Million; Most Are Black and Latino, Despite Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

Illegal Searches and Bogus Misdemeanor Arrests Continue, Despite Order by Commissioner Kelly to Halt Unlawful Police Practices; Marijuana Arrests Are #1 Offense in NYC and Make up 15% of all Arrests

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Kyung Ji Rhee 347-712-0259 or Jeremy Saunders 917-676-8041

Thurs: Elected Officials, Community Members to March to Mayor Bloomberg’s House to Protest Out-of-Control Marijuana Arrest Crusade in NYC

Under Bloomberg, More Than 400,000 People Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges in NYC, At a Cost of More Than $600 Million; Most Are Young Blacks and Latinos, Despite Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

Illegal Searches and Manufactured Misdemeanor Arrests Continue Despite Order by Commissioner Kelly to Halt These Unlawful Police Practices; Marijuana Arrests Are #1 Offense in NYC and Make Up 15% of All Arrests

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Kyung Ji Rhee 347-712-0259 or Jeremy Saunders 917-676-8041

New Data Released: NYPD Made More Marijuana Possession Arrests in 2011 than in 2010; Illegal Searches and Manufactured Misdemeanors Continue Despite Order by Commissioner Kelly to Halt Unlawful Arrests

More Than 400,000 People Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges in NYC in the Past Decade; Most Are Young Blacks and Latinos, Despite Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

2011 Arrests Cost Taxpayers Over $75 Million; Bloomberg Spends More Than $600 Million on Bogus Marijuana Arrests In Last Decade

NEW YORK – According to data just released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the New York City Police Department continued their marijuana arrest crusade in 2011, surpassing 2010's near-record amount of low-level marijuana arrests. In 2011, the NYPD made more than 50,680 arrests for the lowest-level marijuana possession offense, making 2011 the second-highest period for marijuana arrests in New York City history.

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

Proponents Submit 159,000 Signatures to Put Marijuana Legalization on November Ballot in Colorado

Voter Initiative Would Generate New Revenue, and Increase Public Safety

Denver – Denver-based activists submitted over 159,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office today, well over the 86,500 required to put a marijuana legalization initiative on the state’s Presidential ballot in November. The initiative is being spearheaded by Brian Vicente and Mason Tvert of Sensible CO and SAFER CO respectively.

Art Way (720) 288-6924

Tommy McDonald (510) 338-8827

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