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 York Marijuana Arrests Campaign Videos

Watch these powerful video testimonials to learn about how the NYPD’s illegal marijuana arrest policy has impacted some of the over 50,000 people every year that are falsely charged and arrested for marijuana possession, and how you can help put an end to these egregious police practices.

New Obama Biography Reveals Details of Regular Marijuana Use

DPA Statement: Obama’s Candor Was Commendable, But Hypocritical Escalation of War on Marijuana is Costly Political Miscalculation

A forthcoming biography on President Obama is making headlines, with new details about the president smoking marijuana with his teenage friends in Hawaii.

Tony Newman: 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

Former Police Narcotics Officer to Address Community about the Benefits of Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

Event will Highlight the Negative Human and Fiscal Consequences of Marijuana Prohibition

Denver, CO—On Tuesday, May 22, from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Cleo Parker Robinson’s Dance Studio, 119 Park Avenue West, the Drug Policy Alliance and other allies - including the ACLU of CO and the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition - will host Neill Franklin, former narcotics officer and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), to raise awareness and support for ending marijuana prohibition in Colorado.

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Art Way 720-288-6924

New Jersey Legislature will Hold First-Ever Hearing on Bill to Decriminalize Possession of Marijuana on Monday, May 21st

Advocates Say Fair and Common-Sense Legislation will Save Money and Prevent Injustice and Hardship

Trenton, NJ—On Monday, May 21st, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will hold hearings 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 hearing will convene in Committee Room 12 at 10am in the State House Annex.

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

A Tale of Two Cities: Elected Officials, Community Members, Moms, Faith Leaders Rally at One Police Plaza to End Illegal Arrests and Racist Police Practices

White People Use Nonviolent Civil Disobedience to Block Entrance to One Police Plaza, Drawing Attention to Racially Biased Policing Practices;  
Police Refuse to Make Arrests as City Council Members Watch Action

Under Bloomberg and Kelly, Nearly 400,000 Mostly Young Black and Latinos Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges, Despite Marijuana Being Decriminalized and Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264 or Jeremy Saunders 917-676-8041 or Kyung Ji Rhee 347-712-0259

A Tale of Two Cities: Numerous Elected Officials, Community Members March and Rally at 1 Police Plaza to End Illegal Arrests and Racist Police Practices, Saturday at Noon

Under Bloomberg, Close to 400,000 Mostly Young Black and Latinos Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges, Despite Marijuana Being Decriminalized and Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

Illegal Searches and Manufactured Misdemeanor Arrests Make Marijuana Arrests #1 Offense in NYC and Make Up 15% of All Arrests; Cost to Taxpayers is $75 Million

Jeremy Saunders 917-676-8041 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264 or Kyung Ji Rhee 347-712-0259

UC San Diego Student Left in Holding Cell for Five Days; Drank His Own Urine to Survive, Then Attempted Suicide

Student Was Smoking Pot at House Raided by DEA; Never Charged With Any Crime

Statement by Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

Rise in Teen Marijuana Use Demonstrates Continued Failure of War on Drugs and Prohibitionist Approach

Despite 750,000 Annual Marijuana Possession Arrests, Teens Consistently Report That Marijuana is Easier to Obtain Than Alcohol

Teen Cigarette Smoking Continues Dramatic Decline -- Demonstrating Success of Non-Criminal, Public Health-Based Approach

The 23rd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) was released today, showing an increase in teen marijuana use and reductions in prescription drug misuse and especially cigarette smoking.

Smoking rates have declined with 22 percent of teens reporting smoking cigarettes in the past month –  down 19 percent from 27 percent last year. Past-month usage of marijuana, though, grew from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year.

The following statement is from Jag Davies, publications manager at the Drug Policy Alliance:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384

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