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.

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

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina Calls for Global Drug Policy Reform in UN General Assembly Speech

Praises Voters of Colorado and Washington for Legalizing Marijuana and President Obama for Allowing Them to Proceed

Commends President Mujica of Uruguay for Marijuana Legalization Proposal; Says That U.N. Should Allow Countries to "Experiment with New Models"

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina spoke out forcefully today against the failures of drug prohibition and urged countries to experiment with new drug control models while speaking at the United Nations General Assembly.

Pérez Molina praised the voters of Colorado and Washington for legalizing marijuana, President Obama for allowing the laws to proceed, and President José  Mujica of Uruguay for his marijuana legalization proposal.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Senate panel clears the air on marijuana laws

Hearing examines conflict between state and federal laws.

Federal laws pose "significant obstacles" to regulation of marijuana in states where it is legal and need to be addressed, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Tuesday in a first-ever hearing aimed at reconciling rapidly changing state marijuana laws with a federal prohibition on the drug.

White House Will Allow Marijuana Legalization Laws to Proceed

Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance speaks about the historic breakthrough in the struggle to end marijuana prohibition.

Historic U.S. Senate Hearing on Marijuana Legalization

Drug Policy Alliance: Era of Robust State-Based Regulation Has Begun

Majority of Americans Now Support Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a first-ever Senate hearing on the issue of marijuana legalization and the tension between state and federal marijuana laws.

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

White House Will Allow Marijuana Legalization Laws to Proceed in Colorado and Washington

Historic Breakthrough in Struggle to End Marijuana Prohibition

Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado today that the Department of Justice will allow the states to implement their ballot initiatives that legalized the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for adults. Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country outlining priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. 
 
The directive will also apply to the 20 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
 

Contact:

Tony Newman (646-335-5384)

Ethan Nadelmann (646-335-2240)

Senator Leahy to Hold Congressional Hearing on Conflicting Marijuana Laws, Reiterates Call for Federal Government to Respect States' Marijuana Reforms

Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy AG James Cole Invited to Testify

Statement from Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced Monday that he will address discrepancies between federal and state marijuana laws in an upcoming hearing on September 10. Leahy has invited Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify. Twenty states now allow medical marijuana, and Colorado and Washington recently became the first two states to approve the legal regulation of marijuana for non-medicinal purposes.

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

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