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, although whites consume marijuana at the same rate or higher. 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 Report: "One Million Police Hours: Making 440,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests in New York City, 2002-2012"

Report Documents Huge Waste of Police Resources in NYC, “Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World”; Majority of Those Arrested Are Black and Latino Youth

Report Released As State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Makes Final Push to Pass Marijuana Reform Proposal This Week

NEW YORK:  A new report released today documents the astonishing number of hours the New York Police Department has spent arresting and processing hundreds of thousands of people for low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure. The report finds that NYPD used approximately 1,000,000 hours of police officer time to make 440,000 marijuana possession arrests over 11 years.

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

One Million Police Hours

March 19, 2013

A new report documents the astronomical number of hours the New York Police Department has spent arresting and processing hundreds of thousands of low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure from 2002 to 2012. The report finds that NYPD used approximately one million hours of police officer time to make 440,000 marijuana possession arrests. Under Mayor Bloomberg, New York City has made more marijuana possession arrests than under mayors Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani combined.

A Social Work Perspective on Drug Policy Reform

This report commissioned by the National Association of Social Workers calls for a public health approach to drug use and outlines the role social workers can play in shifting the current paradigm.

New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus Join Community Groups to Call for an End to the Marijuana Possession Law

Marijuana possession is the number one arrest is New York City and a top arrest in New York State, leading to racial discrepancies, while costing taxpayers $600 million over last decade

Albany, NY – Today members of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus, together with Senator Daniel Squadron, and Albany County District Attorney David Soares, gathered to end the biased and costly practices of falsely arresting tens of thousands of people in New York for low-level marijuana possession. Joined by dozens of advocates and impacted people from around the state, the Caucus urged members of the Senate and Assembly to support Governor Cuomo’s marijuana decriminalization proposal.

CONTACT:     Nantasha Williams 518-455-5327, bphacaucuspress@gmail.com or Gabriel Sayegh 646-335-2264

In a Bi-partisan Vote the New Mexico's House of Representatives Passes HB465 (Representative Emily Kane)

HB465 Reduces Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

Santa Fe, NM – This afternoon, making history, the New Mexico’s House of Representatives voted (37-33) to pass House Bill 465, reducing penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana.  The final vote was bi-partisan with Republicans Representative Gentry and Representative McMillian voting in support.  The bill now advances to the Senate.  The proposed legislation reduces the penalty structure for possession of up to 4 ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines while taking away the potential fo

Tuesday: New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus Join Community Groups to Call for Fix to Broken Marijuana Possession Law

Marijuana Possession is Number One Arrest is New York City and A Top Arrest in State, Leading To Racial Discrepancies, Costing Taxpayers $600 Million Over Last Decade

Governor Cuomo Makes Reform Major Priority in 2013; Caucus and Advocates Urge Legislature to Act

Albany: On Tuesday, March 12th, the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus will gather to push to end the biased and costly practices of falsely arresting tens of thousands of people in New York for low-level marijuana possession. They will be joined by dozens of advocates and impacted people from around the state to urge passage of Governor Cuomo’s marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Contact: gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264 or Nantasha Williams 518-455-5327

New Poll Shows New Mexico's Growing Momentum for Marijuana Policy Reform

52 percent of New Mexico Voters Support Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

57 percent are in Favor of Reducing the Penalties and Eliminating Jail Time for Possessing Small Amounts of Marijuana

SANTA FE – Yesterday, the Drug Policy Alliance released new polling data about New Mexican’s attitudes and opinions on marijuana.  The new data reflects that a majority of New Mexico voters are in favor of reforming our current marijuana laws. The poll was conducted by Research & Polling, Inc. in February, 2013.

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

New Mexico's House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee Passes HB465 - Representative Emily Kane's Bill Reducing Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

Santa Fe, NM – This afternoon, the New Mexico’s Legislative House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted in support of House Bill 465, reducing penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana.  The proposed legislation reduces the penalty structure for possession of up to 4 ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines while taking away the potential for jail time for any amount up to 8 ounces.  Currently, in New Mexico, possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor crime with fines and possible jail time; over 1 ounce and up to 8 o

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256

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