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.
Colombia Part of Growing Trend in Latin America; Last Week President of Uruguay Called for Legal Regulation of Marijuana
Colombia’s Constitutional Court today approved the government’s proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana for personal use. Anyone caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine for personal use may receive physical or psychological treatment depending on their state of consumption, but may not be prosecuted or detained, the court ruled.
DPA Statement: Step in Right Direction, But Devil is in the Details
The Chicago City Council passed – by a vote of 43 to 3 -- an ordinance today that will decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. People who are caught with under half an ounce of marijuana will now face fines between 250 and 500 dollars instead of being arrested.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy came out in support of the ordinance earlier this month and have talked about the need to free up police resources to fight more serious crime.
Advocates Say Fair and Common-Sense Legislation will Save Money and Prevent Injustice and Hardship
Trenton—On Monday, June 25th, the New Jersey General Assembly will vote on Assembly Bill 1465, which would make possession of one-half ounce, or 15 grams, of marijuana a summary offense similar to a parking ticket. The voting session is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m.
Over 50,000 Needless Arrests Cost Taxpayers $75 million a Year, Undermine Ability of Youth to Gain Employment; Majority Leader Skelos and Conservative Party Leader Mike Long Apparently Believe Wasteful, Unlawful, Racially Biased Arrests is "Right Message" for "Youngsters"
Operations Order by Commissioner Kelly Has Proven To Be Ineffective;
Advocates, Community Groups and Elected Officials Vow to Continue Fight for Legislation That Ensures Equity, Fairness and Fiscal Responsibility
More than 90% of Marijuana Possession Arrests Come from NYC
NYC Council Joins Bloomberg, Kelly, District Attorneys in Calling on Albany to Act Swiftly and Pass Legislation to Close Loopholes, Standardize Penalties and Return to Intent of 1977 Decriminalization Law
Resolution Supports Legislation in Albany to Clarify Existing Marijuana Law; Advocates Continue to Pressure State Leaders to Pass Legislation to End Discriminatory, Costly, and Unlawful Arrests for Marijuana in Public View
Wednesday: NY City Council to Vote on Resolution Calling for Support of Legislation in Albany, Advocates to Meet at One Police Plaza at 11 a.m. to Support City Council Resolution
NEW YORK: Today hundreds of activists and concerned New Yorkers from around the state gathered in Albany to demand that Senate Republicans pass A. 10581, a bill that would end the practice of arresting individuals for possessing small amounts of marijuana in public view. Following the rally, activists delivered a petition with more than 6,500 signatures to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, calling on him to advance sensible reforms.
Drive to Pass Legislation Comes on Heels of Cuomo, Bloomberg, Kelly, DA's Announcing Support for Closing Major Loophole in State's Marijuana Decriminalization Law
Wednesday: NY City Council to Vote on Resolution Calling for Support of New Law, Advocates to Meet at One Police Plaza at 11 a.m. to Support City Council Resolution
NEW YORK: On Tuesday, June 12th, hundreds of concerned people from around New York will travel to Albany to pressure state leaders to pass legislation that would end the biased and costly practices of falsely arresting tens of thousands of people in New York every year for low-level marijuana possession. Advocates will gather outside of the Assembly Chamber at 12 PM and then, the group will deliver a petition with thousands of signatures from New Yorkers from every part of the state, calling on Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and the Senate to enact reforms.