New York State Drug War Ceasefire
The Trump administration has, so far, put forward at least two policy initiatives which are directly harmful to Black Americans.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed a directive to phase out the government's use of private prisons, the majority of which have “Lockup Quotas”. These agreements guarantee that the prisons will be paid at an occupancy rate of between 65 - 100%, even if vacant. “Lockup Quotas” promote harsh sentencing at the justification of the taxpayer dollar and ensure the expansion of the private prison system. In 2012, private prisons generated over 3 billion in revenue from leasing inmate labor to companies such as : Bank of America, Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, McDonalds and Nintendo. For as little as 93 cents a day these, and other companies can produce at record low cost, exploiting the labor of the incarcerated.
Trump’s administration also asserted a federal crackdown on marijuana possession, even in states where it has been legalized at the local level. The “War on Drugs” is one of many political tools in the arsenal of “Broken Windows Policing”, which disproportionately scrutinizes and terrorizes Black and Brown communities. Black Americans are identified as 4x more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite roughly equivalency of use across race. While representing a mere 13% of the total American population, Black inmates make up 40% of the total American prison population.
By expanding a prison system with population requirements and monetary penalties for quota failures, and enforcing policies proven to lead to disproportionate arrests in the Black community, the government has poised corporations to take advantage of the American Tradition of free labor provided by Black suffering.
New Yorkers will not allow the continued exploitation of our Black citizens, whom we love and value. We will not remain ignorant of and complicit with policies meant to exploit and disenfranchises our fellow New Yorkers. We will not support a system that continues slavery and penalizes unjustly.
Four Reasons to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana in NY State.
1.) The Drug War is Anti-Black and Racist!
The War on Drugs is a Nixon era political tool aimed at vilifying antiwar sympathizers and Black people. By associating Black Americans with drugs and criminalizing Black communities, violence and incarceration became easily justifiable to the public. This criminalization is still used to justify all types of behavior disruptive to Black communities. Although marijuana use is basically equal across race, Blacks are identified as 4x more likely to be arrested for possession. Within the US population the ratio of white to Black Americans is approximately 5 to 1, however, whites and Blacks each account for 40% of prison occupancy. Despite being a meager .5% of the global population, Black Americans represent 10% of the global prison population.
2.) Criminalization of Drug Possession is Morally Wrong
Criminalization and dehumanization of people who possess drugs with intent to use is a moral failing. It is largely accepted that addiction is an illness, and should not be punished, but rehabilitated. If the justification for controlling marijuana use is health related, funneling users into the prison industrial complex is not a solution. We have to change the way our society views and treats drug possession and addiction.
3.) There Will be an Industry Boom and Tax Revenue
Colorado and California have shown how profitable marijuana regulation can be for a state. New business would create jobs and stimulate the economy. A substantial portion of the tax revenue is put towards schools and other social services in communities directly disadvantaged by the "War on Drugs".
4.) Marijuana has Medical Uses and is Inexpensive
Cannabis use has numerous health benefits. It is an effective pain killer and provides symptom relief for multiple chronic ailments such as epilepsy, alzheimer's and menstrual cramps. It is also prescribed for depression, anxiety, insomnia and other mental issues faced by countless New Yorkers. It is a viable and affordable alternative compared with pricey medications offered by pharmaceuticals.
This Petition demands that NY State Legislature ratify a bill which:
1.) Completely and immediately decriminalizes the possession of marijuana.
2.) Legalizes marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes, to be taxed and regulated in a fashion similar alcohol. A substantial portion of the revenue generated is to be set aside to benefit those communities most affected by the “War on Drugs”, criminalization and drug stigmatization.
Marijuana Decriminalization, Repair Communities in Proportion!
Jonathan Gartrelle started this petition with a single signature, and now has 51 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.