City Council Calls for End to NYPD's Costly, Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests Crusade

New City Council Resolution Highlights Illegal Searches, Targeting of Youth of Color, and $75 Million Wasted on Marijuana Arrests; Calls for Albany to Pass Bi-Partisan Reform Legislation

City Council Members introduced a resolution on August 17th calling for an end to Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD’s racially biased, costly marijuana arrest crusade. The resolution calls on the state legislature to pass the bipartisan proposal to fix the law (S.5187/A.7620). VOCAL-NY joined nearly a dozen elected officials and community groups, including our allies Drug Policy Alliance and Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, for a City Hall press conference announcing the resolution (photos below).

These arrests are driven by the NYPD’s practice of stop and frisks and illegal searches. VOCAL-NY Community Organizer Alfredo Carrasquillo described his experience being harassed by the police to the New York Times:


“The usual process is police will run up on me, come up with an excuse on why they arrested me — or sometimes they don’t even have an excuse — demand that I get up against a wall.”

The resolution comes on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg’s new initiative to keep young Black and Latino men out of criminal justice system. VOCAL and our allies argue that simply following New York’s existing marijuana decriminalization law of 1977 would significantly reduce arrests of young men of color.

Big thanks to Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries and City Council Members Melissa Mark Viverito, Robert Jackson, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane Williams, Gale Brewer and James Sanders for supporting NYPD accountability.

View the press release online and check out photos from the press conference below.


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