A new report released yesterday shows us that during the last ten years, the NYPD has spent approximately 1,000,000 police hours arresting people for marijuana possession. In that time, they have managed to arrest over 440,000 people for minor marijuana charges, costing taxpayers over 75 million dollars last year alone. These are hours that police officers might have otherwise have spent investigating and solving serious crimes like rape, murder, and robbery, but instead has been spent on failed drug war tactics. We cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Marijuana arrests have only increased over the last 20 years. Most of these arrests are the outcome of controversial and unlawful NYPD practices like stop-and-frisk and arrest quotas. Yet, marijuana still remains on the streets, and communities of color and young people are carrying arrest records on their backs. More than 84 percent of those arrested last year were people of color – even though young whites use marijuana at higher rates.
This report comes to us at a time when legislators in Albany are actually considering a law that would decriminalize marijuana in the state of New York. This is good news for drug policy reformers. There has never been a better time for reform. With the governor and legislators in Albany determining if they’re going to enact new laws, it gives us a unique opportunity to take action and encourage lawmakers to make the right choice.
If you are a New York resident, can you take two minutes now to help end marijuana arrests in NYC? With two simple actions, in two minutes or less, you can make a difference.
Two actions in two minutes:
1st minute: 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!
- Call his office at (212) 681-4579
- “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.
- Click here to email NY State legislators demanding reform. Let’s end these wasteful and racially biased arrests.