Statement on Marijuana ‘Decriminalization’ and Expungement Law Going into Impact in New York

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New York, NY – Under is a statement from Melissa Moore, Deputy NY State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance, on the marijuana ‘decriminalization’ and expungement law going into impact right now in New York.

“The inability of the state legislature and Governor Cuomo to pass extensive marijuana legalization indicates that Black and Latinx people stay disproportionately in the crosshairs of dangerous marijuana enforcement. Decriminalization alone is not sufficient to deal with the complete effect of marijuana prohibition and just provides law enforcement discretion. Really addressing the legacy of harm from prohibition and targeted enforcement by comprehensively legalizing and reinvesting in communities is what policymakers need to have to provide on. Whilst it is disappointing that our leaders have as soon as once more failed to prioritize racial justice in New York, we will continue to fight on behalf of extensive reforms. 

“The expungement provision passed by lawmakers will offer a measure of relief to deal with the 900,000 arrests for marijuana charges that took spot in New York beneath the marijuana arrest crusade. On the other hand, it is essential that this bill is not mistakenly understood as a ‘decriminalization’ measure, regardless of how lawmakers have advertised it. Beneath the bill, wide-ranging situations of marijuana possession will stay a legal violation, enabling law enforcement the discretion to continue generating arrests. As we’ve noticed in the years following New York’s so-named decriminalization of marijuana in 1977, something brief of extensive legalization indicates that Black and Latinx people will stay disproportionately in the crosshairs of dangerous enforcement practices.”

“Of essential value, this bill also fails to address the collateral damages of prohibition, such as impacted individuals’ access to employment, housing, address family members separations, immigration rights, and other avenues to financial safety. Offered the in depth, life-altering inequities designed by discriminatory and draconian enforcement policies, accurate justice calls for the allocation of tax income to neighborhood reinvestment applications for impacted communities. We are extremely proud of our communities and supporters for creating the momentum essential to force legislators to pass a law authorizing automatic expungement. Whilst it is disappointing that our leaders have as soon as once more failed to address marijuana criminalization wholesale, we will continue to fight on behalf of extensive marijuana reform in New York.”

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