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.
50% of Americans Favor Ending Marijuana Prohibition
For the first time a Gallup poll has found that 50% of Americans support making marijuana legal. The poll indicates that only 46% oppose ending marijuana prohibition.
Responding to Public Pressure, Police Ordered To Not Arrest People if Marijuana Not in Plain View
Advocates Applauds New Directive, Which Could End Tens of Thousands of Illegal Arrests
NYPD Commission Ray Kelly issued an internal order this week commanding officers to follow existing New York State law by ending arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana – as long as the marijuana was never in public view. The order does not change the law itself – but simply instructs officers to comport with the law. This could result in tens of thousands fewer marijuana arrests annually in New York City.
New City Council Resolution Highlights Illegal Searches, Targeting of Youth of Color, and $75 Million Wasted on Marijuana Arrests; Calls for Albany to Pass Bi-Partisan Reform Legislation
Resolution Comes on Heels of Mayor Bloomberg's New Initiative to Keep Young Black and Latino Men out of Criminal Justice System; Simply Following Existing NY Marijuana Decriminalization Law of 1977 Would Significantly Reduce Arrests of Young Men of Color
NEW YORK – On Wednesday, community groups joined with Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries and City Council Members Melissa Mark Viverito, Robert Jackson, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane Williams, Gale Brewer, James Sanders, and others as the Council introduced a resolution calling for an end to the racially biased, costly marijuana arrest crusade in NYC. The Resolution calls on the Legislature to pass the bipartisan proposal to fix the law ( S.5187 – Grisanti /A.7620 – Jeffries).
With a new bill, we have a chance to end federal marijuana prohibition!
The Legislation, Modeled after the Repeal of Alcohol Prohibition, Comes on the 40th Anniversary of the Failed War on Drugs and on the Heels of a Global Commission Report Recommending Marijuana Legalization
Teleconference: Rep. Barney Frank and Leading Organizations Working to End the Failed War on Marijuana Explain the Significance of the Legislation
Rev. Carol Antun shares her story of her son's suicide following ridicule and judgment for his marijuana use. This is an excerpt from The Exile Nation Project, directed by Charles Shaw.