Legislation reducing marijuana possession penalties and facilitating the expungement of past cannabis convictions took effect today.
Doug was a passionate advocate for ending America’s failed war on cannabis consumers, and his work with NORML and for the cause spans decades not years. This is a sad loss for his friends and family, the New York cannabis community, and the legalization movement.
Legalization is still possible this year, but only if we continue to put the pressure on our elected officials to get it done.
A.1617, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), has been re-introduced this legislative session. The bill would legalize the adult possession, use, and regulated sale of marijuana. Over the past twenty years, many New Yorkers have been negatively affected by the harms of prohibition in New York. With people of color accounting for nearly 85% of those arrested annually, the MRTA directs the benefits of taxing and regulating marijuana to these communities. Because structural racism is ingrained in marijuana prohibition, it’s important that the MRTA both ends marijuana prohibition and promotes racial justice. Significant steps are taken in the amended MRTA to ensure racial justice and a small business-friendly industry, including: Creating a micro-licensing structure, similar to New York’s rapidly…
In news that bodes well for the future of cannabis legalization in the state of New York, both chambers of the state legislature have included legalization language in their annual budget proposals. Both budget proposals also address the expedited expungement of certain marijuana-related convictions, implementing social equity programs in the state’s growing marijuana industry, and diverting tax money earned through the legal cannabis industry to benefit communities that have borne the brunt of the most brutal aspects of marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs in New York. Though Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal does not allow for the personal cultivation of marijuana plants, the NY General Assembly’s budget proposal does promote home cultivation upon the legalization of adult-use and retail…
While state lawmakers in New York continue to explore the intricacies of legalizing and regulating adult-use marijuana, Brooklyn DA’s Office is moving forward with an initiative to expunge low-level marijuana convictions from criminal records.
As a result of the ongoing conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, tens of thousands of low-income medical marijuana patients around the country are at risk of losing their homes. If approved by Congress, the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act would protect medical marijuana patients who are in compliance with state laws from being denied access to federally assisted housing.
A state-commissioned study released today by the New York Department of Health recommends replacing cannabis criminalization with a policy of adult use legalization. It concludes, “A regulated marijuana program enjoys broad support and would have significant health, social justice, and economic benefits.”
A forthcoming report commissioned by the Governor’s office is set to recommend that lawmakers legalize and regulate the possession and sale of marijuana by adults.
African Americans in the city of Buffalo (population 257,000) are disproportionately arrested for low-level marijuana possession offenses, according to an analysis of arrest data by the advocacy group Partnership for the Public Good. “[T]he disparities in the number of marijuana possession arrests cannot be explained by a higher use among black or Hispanic people,” authors concluded. “Legalizing marijuana would reduce low-level drug arrests by ten percent, and help reduce racial disparities in overall arrest numbers.”