Last week, Governor Cuomo announced his support for ending the fiscally wasteful, racially biased and unconstitutional arrests that result from inconsistent state law for marijuana possession. Governor Cuomo was joined by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and District Attorneys from throughout New York -- everyone now agrees that change is needed.
New York lawmakers need to hear from to support passage of A.10581, legislation that would decriminalize marijuana possession to an infraction. This proposal, introduced by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) at the request of Governor Cuomo, would standardize marijuana offenses in New York and reduce needless and racially-biased criminalization.
This reform is supported by law enforcement, including: NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly; Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance; Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes; Staten Island DA Dan Donovan; Bronx DA Robert Johnson; Queens DA Richard Brown; Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice; Rochester Police Chief Jim Sheppard; Also supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg; NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the NY City Council.
Marijuana possession is the #1 arrest in New York City. Over 55,000 arrests in NY last year for possession of small amounts of marijuana and the majority of these arrests – 50,684 - happened in NYC. The majority of these arrests are the result of biased and unlawful practices: stop-and-frisk, illegal searches, and false charges to meet quotas.
Nearly 85% of those arrested are Black and Latino, even though whites use marijuana at higher rates. Nearly 70% of those arrested are young people. Marijuana possession arrests have cost NYC taxpayers $75 million in 2011 and more than $600 million over the last decade.
Please sign my petition and ask NY lawmakers to support the passage of A.10581 and decriminalize marijuana in NY.