Most arrests for marijuana possession occur because of illegal searches that often follow stop and frisks, which helps explain why the overwhelming majority of arrests have been among Black and Latino youth despite higher rates of marijuana use among white youth. Governor Cuomo and the legislature are now on the verge of enacting major reform that could dramatically reduce arrests of young people of color due to racist marijuana arrests.
On June 12th, more than 150 VOCAL-NY members rallied in the state Capitol building with allies from the Drug Policy Alliance, the Center for NuLeadership, ColorOfChange, Long Island Progressive Coalition, and Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition to call on Senator Majority Leader Dean Skelos to support the proposed reforms (photos below).
Media coverage included:
Politics on the Hudson: Protesters push GOP on marijuana law (with video)
Legislative Gazette: Rally in Capitol to change marijuana laws
While we rallied in the State Capitol, VOCAL-NY leader Brian Pearson testified about the illegal searches and collateral consequences associated with low-level marijuana arrests during a City Council hearing:
Photos from Albany: