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California Lt. Governor to Chair Marijuana Legalization Panel

October 18th

Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California, will chair a blue ribbon committee tasked with studying marijuana legalization in the state. This was announced at a joint press conference Thursday with the ACLU of California. The panel will “engage in a multi-year research effort to help voters and policy makers as they consider proposals to enact […]

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Pressure on New York Senate for Marijuana Decriminalization Fix

June 16th

NEW YORK, NY — New York City elected officials called on Senate leaders Friday to put to a vote a bill that will end the biased and costly practices of falsely arresting tens of thousands of people in New York for low-level marijuana possession before the end of the legislative session Thursday.

They were joined by dozens of advocates and impacted people to urge passage before the legislative session ends next week. The proposal outlined in Gov. Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State Address would decriminalize possessing up to 15 grams of marijuana in public view, while smoking in public would remain a misdemeanor.

One year ago, the NY City Council voted on a resolution to support legislation in Albany to end these arrests. Since that legislation failed to pass last year, nearly 50,000 more people were arrested as a result of this broken law. Fixing the law would help end the practice of arresting tens of thousands of young people per year for possessing marijuana in public view when police demand that someone “empty their pockets” during a stop-and-frisk encounter.

The bill,  Assembly Bill 6716/Senate Bill 3105. . . . . READ MORE

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Momentum Builds for Marijuana Law Reform in the District of Columbia

June 8th

WASHINGTON, DC — District of Columbia residents are arrested for marijuana possession at greater rates than residents of any U.S. state and D.C. taxpayers pay more per capita on marijuana arrests in the country, according to a groundbreaking report issued yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union that examines nationwide state and county marijuana arrest data by race.

The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests” also found that African Americans comprise just over half the D.C. population, but accounted for more than nine out of every ten marijuana possession arrests in 2010. All told, African Americans were eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession that white residents, and more than 90 percent of all marijuana arrests in 2010 were of African Americans. Since 2001, the report found that the racial disparity in D.C. marijuana arrests widened by more than 75 percent as the overall marijuana arrest rate in D.C. grew more than 60 percent.

“The only way to reduce the appalling racial disparities in marijuana law enforcement and stop the hemorrhaging of law enforcement time and taxpayer dollars is to eliminate penalties for marijuana possession,” said Bill Piper, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Marijuana use in the D.C. should no longer be a crime and the p. . . . . READ MORE

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Analysis Finds Racial Disparities, Ineffectiveness in NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Program; Links Tactic to Soaring Marijuana Arrest Rate

May 23rd

nypd-stop-and-frisk

NEW YORK, NY — The New York Civil Liberties Union released an analysis of the NYPD’s 2012 stop-and-frisk data Wednesday, showing that the stop-and-frisk program’s stark racial disparities and ineffectiveness in recovering illegal guns continued last year despite a decline in the overall number of stops.

The analysis includes new information on how the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program contributes to the city’s soaring arrest rates for marijuana possession.

“Despite the welcome decline in the overall number of stops, the NYPD last year still subjected hundreds of thousands of innocent people to humiliating, intimidating and unjustified stop-and-frisk encounters,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “With a 90-percent failure rate, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program remains a tremendous waste of resources, sows mistrust between police and the communities of color and routinely violates fundamental rights. The city’s next mayor must make a clean break from the Bloomberg administration’s ineffective and abusive stop-and-frisk regime.”

Last year, the NYPD stopped and interrogated people 532,911 times, a 448-percent increase in street stops since 2002 – w. . . . . READ MORE

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