Advocates Demand Marijuana Legalization in New York; Focus on Racial and Economic Justice

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Surveys show that the usage of marijuana is the same between minorities and Whites yet, there are huge racial disparities between the two. Over the last 20 years, more than 800,000 lives were irrevocably damaged by our draconian marijuana arrest policies. Low-level marijuana offenses disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities and unnecessarily leaves a permanent stain on oftentimes first-time, non-violent offenders’ records. A growing number of elected officials from across the state have publicly voiced their support for legalization and the Governor has begun to study the issue. Continued criminalization of marijuana does not prevent marijuana use.

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ALBANY, NY — Advocates assembled in the state capitol today to urge state Legislators and the Governor to move on marijuana reform and emphasize that marijuana legalization remains a social, racial, and economic justice issue.

Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger were joined by organizations and groups dedicated to criminal justice reform, civil rights, and public health as they stood in support of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), a bill that would legalize the production, distribution, and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

The bill would effectively end marijuana prohibition in New York State and would create a system to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

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“New York families have suffered for too long from the destructive effects of marijuana prohibition. Heavily racialized enforcement has meant that African American and...

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