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Petitioning New York State Senate

Tell the NY Senate: End Marijuana Arrests Now!


In the last decade, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have been arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Now you have a chance to stop these ridiculous arrests.

Very soon, the NY Senate could vote on a bill that will end low-level marijuana possession arrests. It's our last obstacle to get it signed into law and we’re running out of time! Tell your NY Senator to pass the bill that will end marijuana possession arrests now!

Letter to
New York State Senate
I urge you to promote fairness and equity in New York state by voting yes on S.3105A (Squadron)/A.6716A (Camara). The bill was already passed in the Assembly. This bill, introduced at Gov. Cuomo's request, will standardize penalties for possession of marijuana in public view as a violation punishable by a summons and fine, not arrest and jail. This remedy is supported by over 125 organizations throughout New York, from Buffalo to Long Island. And it's supported by all the
top law enforcement officials in the state, including NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, all five NYC district attorneys and DA's from Long Island and upstate New York, and mayors in NY like Mike Bloomberg. Now Albany needs to take action.

Of course you know that the current law was originally passed in 1977, making possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York a non-criminal violation. But too often the police bypass the violation and instead charge people with possession in public view, which is a criminal offense. Most of these arrests are an outcome of controversial and unlawful NYPD practices like stop-and-frisk and quotas. More than 500,000 people have been arrested in the last decade. But that's not all:

-- These arrests are racially biased: Nearly 85% of all those arrested are Black and Latino -- even though government studies consistently show that whites use marijuana at higher rates.

-- These arrests impact our young people: Nearly 70% of those arrested are under 30 years old -- these arrests create a criminal record that can stay with someone for the rest of their life, severely limiting their opportunities.

-- These arrests are astoundingly expensive and wasteful: These arrests have cost taxpayers $75 million a year and over $600 million in the last decade.

-- These arrests do not support public safety: A detailed study found that the vast majority of those arrested for marijuana possession do not go on to commit other crimes.

-- These arrests waste police time: In the last decade, more than one million police hours have been spent making these arrests.

The Assembly passed the law because they knew that this was sensible reform that had the backing of majority of New Yorkers. Everyone understands we need a fix to this law including law enforcement, treatment providers, and community groups throughout the state. The Senate is the only obstacle to reform. Please show New Yorkers throughout the state that you believe in equity and sensible reform. Please vote yes to end these ridiculous arrests once and for all.

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