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.

President Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol

Obama Calls New Laws Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado and Washington 'Important'

In an interview with the New Yorker published Sunday, President Obama spoke about his past drug use, said marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol, talked about racial disparities in marijuana arrests and said the new laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington are ‘important.’

Excerpts from the interview by David Remnick of the New Yorker where Obama talked about drugs and the war on drugs include:

Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann (646) 335-2240

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: Marijuana Has Medical Value and Marijuana Possession Arrests are Waste of Law Enforcement Time and Resources

Statement from Drug Policy Alliance: More Senators Should Follow Reid’s Lead

In an interview today with the Las Vegas Sun, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Nevada cities should move in the direction of making medical marijuana legal.

“If you’d asked me this question a dozen years ago, it would have been easy to answer – I would have said no, because (marijuana) leads to other stuff,” the Senate majority leader told the Sun today. “But I can’t say that anymore.”

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

Washington D.C. Takes Major Step Toward Ending Marijuana Possession Arrests

Decriminalization Bill Unanimously Approved by Panel of D.C. Councilmembers

With Support of Mayor and Supermajority of Councilmembers, Marijuana Decriminalization Appears Imminent

D.C. lawmakers approved legislation today that would eliminate criminal penalties under District law for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use during a meeting of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. The panel of five Councilmembers approved the measure unanimously. The bill next goes before all thirteen Councilmembers for final consideration.

Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Grant Smith (202) 421-5031

Washington D.C. Takes Major Step Toward Ending Marijuana Possession Arrests

Wednesday: Councilmembers to Vote on Decriminalization Bill that Would Reduce Racial Disparities and Re-Prioritize Law Enforcement Resources

With Support of Mayor and Supermajority of Councilmembers, Marijuana Decriminalization Appears Imminent

D.C. lawmakers will vote Wednesday on legislation that would eliminate criminal penalties under District law for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use during a meeting of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. The panel of five Councilmembers is expected to approve the measure. The bill would next go before all thirteen Councilmembers for final consideration.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Grant Smith 202-421-5031

Gripping New BuzzFeed Video Shows Life-Altering Consequences of Marijuana Possession Arrests in New York City

Last night, BuzzFeed released a gripping video about one New Yorker’s harrowing experience of being arrested for marijuana possession.  A Marijuana Arrest  tells the story of former Manhattan Public School art teacher Alberto Willmore, who recounts how his life was upended after NYPD officers aggressively seized and charged him with marijuana possession. Mr.

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

Uruguay On Verge of Becoming First Country In World to Legalize Marijuana

Uruguayan Senate to Vote Next Week on President Mujica’s Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

Next week, the Uruguayan Senate will vote on a bill that would make their country the first in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults. The bill was approved in the House of Representatives in July with 50 out of 96 votes.  The Senate vote will most likely take place on Tuesday, December 10. Once approved in Senate, Uruguay will have 120 days to write the regulations before implementing the law.

Contact: Tony Newman: 646-335-5384 or Hannah Hetzer: hhetzer@drugpolicy.org

Parents of Autistic Teen Entrapped by Cops Sue School District

Lawsuit Highlights Cruel Practices and Ineffectiveness of Undercover Narcotics Operations in Schools

TEMECULA, CA – The parents of a 17-year-old special needs student arrested in an undercover police operation announced today they are suing the school district that authorized the operation. The student, who suffers from a range of disabilities, was falsely befriended by a police officer who repeatedly asked the boy to provide him drugs.

Contact: Darby Beck: 415.823.5496; Tony Newman: 646.335.5384 or Catherine and Doug Snodgrass: 951.643.4212

This Week: Press Conference and D.C. Council Hearings on Marijuana Decriminalization

Legislation Urgently Needed After Recent Reports Find that One in Eight African Americans in D.C. are Arrested for Marijuana Possession

Drug Policy Alliance to Testify in Support of Decriminalization and Ask Councilmembers to Take Additional Steps to End Marijuana Prohibition

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Grant Smith 202-421-5031

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