Albany —Advocates assembled within the state capitol in the present day to induce state Legislators and the Governor to maneuver on marijuana reform and emphasize that marijuana legalization stays a social, racial, and financial justice problem.
Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger had been joined by organizations and teams devoted to legal justice reform, civil rights, and public well being as they stood in help of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), a invoice that might legalize the manufacturing, distribution, and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. The invoice would successfully finish marijuana prohibition in New York State and would create a system to tax and regulate marijuana in a way just like alcohol.
“New York households have suffered for too lengthy from the damaging results of marijuana prohibition. Closely racialized enforcement has meant that African American and Latino communities have borne the brunt of this misguided coverage, with younger folks locked up in jail, and locked out of jobs, housing, and training. Permitting grownup private use, with applicable regulation and taxation, is the type of sensible, accountable, fact-based drug coverage that our communities desperately want,” stated Senator Liz Krueger.
“It’s about time for New York to revisit our marijuana insurance policies. Regardless of heightened rhetoric on the difficulty over the previous couple of years, our legal guidelines haven’t modified since 1977. Persons are nonetheless being arrested for low-level possession daily — and younger black and brown New Yorkers are getting arrested at alarming charges. It is mindless to be having this dialogue whereas so many are nonetheless being harmed by our outdated drug legal guidelines. Prohibition should finish.” stated Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “Not solely have these arrests created an excessive amount of hurt in communities throughout the state and stunted development alternatives for generations however we’re additionally lacking out on an enormous financial growth alternative. I feel people are beginning to see and agree that prohibition has failed. I’m most desirous about ensuring that we modify course in a accountable means and that we work to restore among the hurt that prohibition has brought on by reinvesting in communities.”
9 states and the District of Columbia have now ended marijuana prohibition of their jurisdictions. These states have diminished their general court docket filings of marijuana associated offenses by 94%. They’ve utilized the much-needed income to rebuild crumbling infrastructure, help training, and put money into communities. And a rising physique of analysis factors to how entry to authorized marijuana is usually a highly effective software for decreasing opioid overdoses—with 25 % drops in overdose deaths in states with authorized frameworks for marijuana.
“We have to transfer past our utterly damaged prohibition mannequin on marijuana to a smart tax-and-regulate mannequin,” stated Meeting Well being Committee Chair Richard Gottfried. “It’s well known that marijuana is much less dangerous than alcohol and our regulation is dishonest in how we deal with it. Continued criminalization of marijuana doesn’t forestall marijuana use. It creates an unlawful drug market that prices tens of millions of in regulation enforcement and different assets whereas disproportionately affecting minority communities.”
“The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act would handle one of the ineffective and costly insurance policies in our State, which has solely served to criminalize communities like those I characterize,” stated State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “Legal guidelines surrounding marijuana are outdated and are costing New Yorkers their freedom and our State cash. I’m proud to affix Senator Krueger and the two out of three New Yorkers who help pushing for legalization in order that we will make investments that new income the place we’d like it probably the most.”
As states throughout the country–and notably the Northeast–continue to reform their marijuana coverage, elevated strain is on New York to legalize. A rising variety of elected officers from throughout the state have publicly voiced their help for legalization and the Governor has begun to check the difficulty. Advocates emphasised the necessity for reform be rooted in racial and financial justice—not solely a money seize—and highlighted that legalization should middle those that have been impacted.
The MRTA consists of efforts to restore the numerous harm performed to communities below prohibition, reminiscent of sealing low-level marijuana arrests and convictions, eradicating a constructive marijuana take a look at as justification for violating an individual’s parole or probation association, and eliminating marijuana use or a previous arrest as a justification for denying an individual entry to employment or licensing alternatives.
“Regardless of a big drop in marijuana busts, the overwhelming majority of these arrested are Black and Latino. Surveys present that the utilization of marijuana is similar between minorities and Whites but, there are big racial disparities between the 2. The legalization of marijuana is the start to finish of the biased criminalization of minorities in New York,” stated Assemblymember Latrice Walker.
“The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act is lengthy overdue and provides New York a possibility to steer in legal justice reform as we rank second within the nation within the variety of marijuana arrests, a deplorable statistic that’s paying homage to the battle on medicine. Low-level marijuana offenses disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities and unnecessarily leaves a everlasting stain on oftentimes first-time, non-violent offenders’ information. I strongly urge my colleagues and New York residents to help this common sense laws that can save the state tens of millions of in enforcement and assist to rebuild lives. ” stated Assemblymember Michael Blake.
Advocates launched the Begin SMART NY marketing campaign (Wise Marijuana Entry by way of Regulated Commerce) in help of the MRTA laws final yr and pointed to their efforts as a key purpose for the elevated dialogue of the difficulty, together with the groundswell of public help. Public opinion polls present two-thirds of New Yorkers favor legalizing marijuana for grownup use within the state.
“The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers acknowledge the advantages of legalizing leisure use of marijuana by adults. For many years, the impacts of enforcement have fallen disproportionately on black, brown and poor New Yorkers, tearing aside communities with over-incarceration, lack of jobs, housing, and even custody of 1’s personal kids. The Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act wouldn’t simply profit the state financial system — it’s designed to learn the communities which have suffered most below criminalization,” stated Erika Lorshbough, New York Civil Liberties Union.
“We help the Begin SMART NY marketing campaign to finish marijuana prohibition in New York and transfer towards a framework centered round repairing the previous harms disproportionately visited upon communities of colour and bringing public security and neighborhood constructing. We stand with Drug Coverage Alliance, defenders, and neighborhood teams in calling for an finish of a racially unjust system of marijuana prohibition and for the dedication of reinvestment into these most impacted by this type of policing,” stated Anthony Posada, Group Justice Unit,
The Authorized Assist Society.
The laws additionally ensures tax income generated from marijuana legalization is put to make use of repairing communities devastated by harsh enforcement of prohibition by directing income to fund job coaching, grownup training, youth growth programming, set up or develop neighborhood facilities, bolster re-entry companies for the previously incarcerated, and in any other case help community-focused programming in communities which were disproportionately impacted by the drug battle, along with training, public well being, and drug therapy.
To extend range in possession throughout the marijuana trade, the MRTA requires entities that obtain a license to stipulate particular actions they are going to take to supply a workforce that resembles the neighborhood through which the license is used, in step with New York’s Minority and Ladies-Owned Companies initiative.
“New York’s marijuana arrest campaign has resulted in vital harms for many who are most weak and has been used as a justification for the hyper-policing of communities of colour. Over the past 20 years, greater than 800,000 lives had been irrevocably broken by our draconian marijuana arrest insurance policies. As New York lastly sheds its embarrassing distinction of being the marijuana arrest capital of the world, we should restore the harms of prohibition and finish the biased policing practices which have ruined the lives of so many younger Black and Latino New Yorkers,” stated Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director for the Drug Coverage Alliance. “In the end, one of the best ways to deal with the disparities and challenges posed by prohibition is to legalize and regulate marijuana in New York.”