PUSH has recently joined a state wide coalition fighting for the decriminalization of medical marijuana – that is the decriminalization of marijuana for medical purposes. The name of this movement is called Compassionate Care NY. We think that legalization of marijuana for legitimate medical purposes is not only progressive it’s long overdue.
Voices of Community Activists & Leaders or VOCAL NY, and the Drug Policy Alliance are 2 of the organizations leading this effort. They’ve been busy helping to build awareness for this change to happen down state (in New York City, NYC), in Central New York, and here up in Western New York.
One of the things they’ve found out through their work is that in NYC alone almost half a million marijuana related arrests were made during 2002-2012. A half million MJ arrests in NYC equals approximately 1,000,000 hours of police time. This is time that police officers might have otherwise spent investigating and solving serious crimes. And, not surprisingly the majority of those being arrested are Black and Latino. "We cannot afford to continue arresting tens of thousands of youth every year for low-level marijuana possession…we can't afford it in terms of the negative effect it has on the future prospects of our youth and we can't afford in terms of police hours…we need legislative action to fix this madness” said Alfredo Carrasquillo, civil rights organizer with VOCAL-NY.
A recent development has come to light that needs our attention. This issue remains a sticking point in the New York State budget talks. Lawmakers on both sides are making moves, or taking no action on the issue. From where we are standing one thing is clear – the solution to this problem has to be a statewide and all encompassing solution, all or nothing.
In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo said one of his top priorities for 2013 was to fix New York’s marijuana’s law. A fix to the law is desperately needed: last year, nearly 50,000 people were arrested for marijuana in New York, costing taxpayers over $75 million a year. Marijuana possession is the number one arrest in NYC. And, nearly 85% of those arrested are mostly Black and Latino youth. While the numbers of arrests are lower in Western New York, the racial disparities in the region are actually higher than in New York City. Buffalo’s racial disparity percentage for marijuana arrests ranks in the top 10 counties in the United States. Nothing has changed, and the State legislature hasn’t acted. We need real reform – now.
We need your help. Can you take two minutes now to help end racially biased, costly marijuana arrests in NY?
2 Minutes, 2 Actions
Call Governor Cuomo.
Please call Gov. Cuomo’s office to ask him to take action. You can leave a quick message at his desk – they track every message, so each call counts!
“Hi, my name is ____________. I am calling to ask Gov. Cuomo to pass his marijuana decriminalization proposal immediately. It will reduce racial bias, save the state tens of millions of dollars, and bring greater equity to our state’s marijuana policies. Thank you.”
Once you’ve called the office, ask your friends to do the same.
Send Albany lawmakers a message: End Marijuana Arrests Now!
Click here to email NY State legislators demanding reform. Let’s end these wasteful and racially biased arrests.
send this to three of your friends, and ask them to engage in Two Minutes for Justice.