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, although whites consume marijuana at the same rate or higher. 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.

The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition

September 27, 2010
Jeffrey A. Miron and Katherine Waldock

State and federal governments in the United States face massive looming fiscal deficits. One policy change that can reduce deficits is ending the drug war. Legalization means reduced expenditure on enforcement and an increase in tax revenue from legalized sales.

NORML Report on Sixty Years of Marijuana Prohibition in the U.S.

NORML

A report prepared by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the "Marijuana Tax Act of 1937."

Real World Ramifications of Cannabis Legalization and Decriminalization

NORML

The following paper reviews various studies** that have examined this issue in regions that have either a) regulated marijuana use and sales for all adults; b) decriminalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana for adults; c) medicalized the use of marijuana to certain authorized individuals; or d) deprioritized the enforcement of marijuana laws. This paper also proposes general guidelines to govern marijuana use, production, and distribution in a legal, regulated manner.

New York City's Marijuana Arrest Crusade...Continues

Harry G. Levine

In 2008, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report by Harry G. Levine and Deborah Peterson Small titled Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City, 1997-2007.

This document briefly reviews and updates key findings from that report presenting new graphs and tables showing recently released and revised arrest data from previous years and from 2008.

It is presented in hopes of stimulating public conversation and debate about New York City's marijuana arrest crusade.

Decriminalizing Drug Law Violations

Addressing the Collateral Consequences of Incarceration

The Cost of NYC's Marijuana Possession Arrests in 2010: $75 Million

Marijuana Possession #1 Arrest in NYC, Comprise 15% of All Arrests; Majority of Those Arrested Are Black and Latino Youth

City Council Members, Community Groups Hold Press Conference at City Hall to Issue Major Report, Discuss Economic and Human Toll of Skyrocketing Arrests

NEW YORK: A new report released today at City Hall finds that arrests for marijuana possession cost New York City taxpayers approximately $75 million each year. The report, titled "$75 Million A Year", documents the astronomical financial costs of marijuana possession arrests in New York City. Major findings from the report include:
 

Tony Newman at 646-335-5384 or Gabriel Sayegh at 646-335-2264

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