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.

Marijuana-Infused Products ("Edibles")

June 10, 2014

Marijuana-infused products, often referred to as “edibles”, are an important part of the burgeoning marijuana market. However, proper regulation is necessary to ensure reliability and safety. DPA believes that marijuana-infused products should be regulated and tested to ensure safety, quality and accuracy of information, that they should be labeled with detailed information to ensure that consumers are informed about what they are consuming and educated on how to safely consume, and that all edibles should be kept away from children.

The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding And Rejecting Science

June 9, 2014
Drug Policy Alliance, MAPS

This report, co-published by DPA and MAPS, illustrates a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence. The report’s case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules.

Regulations Accompanying Uruguay's Marijuana Legalization Law

May 28, 2014

This is an English translation of the regulations signed on May 6, 2014 to accompany Uruguay’s marijuana legalization law, passed in December 2013, making Uruguay the first country in the world to legalize the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults. In the regulations, specifics of the system - beyond what was captured in the bill (Law 19.172) - are fleshed out, providing details on forms of access, restrictions and regulatory specifics.

Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay

May 22, 2014

In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana for personal use. This document is a summary of the key provisions of the law.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Slams DEA for Obstructing Kentucky Hemp Research Program and for Seizing Legal Hemp Seeds

Political Battle Builds as DEA Faces Growing Scrutiny for Slew of Scandals: Use of NSA Data to Spy on Virtually All Americans, Massacre of Civilians in Honduras, and Systematic Pattern of Fabricating Evidence
 
DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart Increasingly At Odds With President Obama, Justice Dept., and Congress

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has weighed in on the political firestorm that has ensued since the DEA recently seized legal hemp seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. McConnell told Politico last night, “It is an outrage that DEA is using finite taxpayer dollars to impound legal industrial hemp seeds.” The Kentucky Agriculture Department is suing the agency.

Contact:

Tony Newman: 646-335-5384
 
Bill Piper 202-669-6430

First Quarter Marijuana Possession Arrest Data Released: NYPD On Path to Make As Many Marijuana Arrests in 2014 as in Previous Year

Extreme Racial Disparities Persist: 86% of arrests are young Black and Latino Men, Even Though Young White Men Use Marijuana At Higher Rates
 
Analysis: Significant Drop in Stop-and-Frisk Does Not End Marijuana Possession Arrests; Advocates Call for Focused Plan to End Biased Arrests

NEW YORK: Today the Marijuana Arrest Research Project released data showing that racially bias marijuana arrests continue to be one of the leading arrests in New York City, despite the precipitous drop in stop and frisks. 

Contact:

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

10 Facts About Marijuana

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. and the world, and was a well-established medicine until it was federally criminalized in 1937. A majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legally regulated.

Marijuana Arrests

749,825

Number of people arrested for marijuana law violations in 2012.

Get Involved

You can help end the drug war by visiting our Action Center.
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Elected Officials, Community Groups Rally in Support of Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson's Proposal to Stop Prosecuting Low-Level Marijuana Possession Cases

Historic Step Will Reduce Both Racial Disparities and the Number of Brooklynites Unfairly Saddled with Lifelong Arrest Records

Advocates, Community Groups Applaud DA Thompson for His Leadership and Demand Action by City Hall and Albany

NEW YORK: Today, Brooklyn elected officials, community groups, and advocates rallied on the steps of Borough Hall to support District Attorney Ken Thompson’s proposal to stop prosecuting people arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Contact: gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264 or Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Friday: Community Groups, Elected Officials to Gather in Support of Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson's Plans to Stop Prosecuting Low-Level Marijuana Possession Cases

Game-Changing Proposal Will Dramatically Reduce the Number of People in Brooklyn Unfairly Saddled with Lifelong Criminal Records

Advocates, Community Groups Applaud DA Thompson for His Leadership and Demand Reform at City Hall and in Albany

NEW YORK: On Friday, April 25th at 11am, elected officials, community members and the coalition, New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety, will rally on the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to applaud DA Ken Thompson’s proposal to stop prosecuting people arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Contact: gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264 or Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

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