gangi for ganja
A great American city should present to the nation an advanced agenda, looking forward to a progressive future. Regrettably, on many important issues -- affordable housing, homelessness, public transportation, for example -- NYC is moving in the wrong direction. Regarding marijuana use, our city has an especially backwards policy.
IN NYC: PUNITIVE & RACIST POLICING
Jurisdictions in our country, some generally considered more conservative than the Big Apple, Alaska, Colorado, Washington state, & Washington DC, have legalized weed. Here, despite Bill de Blasio's baffling, patently untrue claim that "we have ended marijuana possession arrests", marijuana possession is, in fact, the NYPD's 4th most common arrest. Last year, for example, our officers made 18,136 such arrests & issued 20,712 criminal summonses for the infraction -- that's a total of 38,848 punitive interactions for marijuana possession that the NYPD had with NYers in 2016, an average of 106 per day.
It is noteworthy that 90% of the arrests involved NYers of color despite research showing that white people use & sell the drug in equal or greater proportions than African-Americans & Latinos. It could be said, I guess, that the mayor's claim does apply, if only to white neighborhoods.
- Recent polls show that over 60% of Americans support legalizing the drug. 55% of marijuana users are parents.
- Marijuana prohibition has been a costly failure in human & fiscal terms, punishing millions of our most disadvantaged people & wasting billions of dollars that could be better spent on programs & services -- affordable housing, small classes in our public schools, drug treatment -- that would provide a better quality of life for the communities most harmed by the failed war on the drug.
- Research shows that alcohol is more dangerous, leading to higher levels of violence & health problems.
- Legalization has worked -- where it's been established, crime has dropped & tax revenues on sales have been substantial. In the first year of the policy in Colorado, for example, it generated over $40 million in tax income.
NYC's Mayor does not have the authority to legalize marijuana; that power rests with our state government. If elected, however, I will immediately move to effectively decriminalize the drug by ordering the NYPD to stop making arrests or issuing summonses for its recreational use. That step will be part of my administration's directive to the NYPD to abolish the quota system & to end, once & for all, abusive & biased "broken windows" practices. There will be no more racist policing in our NYC.
Please consider supporting our campaign when you vote on September 12. Be an active part of our aggressive effort to end needless & discriminatory practices like using our powerful law enforcement apparatus to punish marijuana use by our poorest & most vulnerable fellow NYers.
If you've followed our campaign, you know that we promote strong & substantive positions aimed at fundamentally changing NYPD practices, including ending quota-driven "broken windows" policing & decriminalizing at least 4 offenses: fare evasion, sex work, gravity knife possession, & marijuana possession & use. I'll explain how the marijuana issue has lately been in the news about the city's mayoral campaign.
Here's a link to to a television news segment where the show's host, Errol Louis, interviews me about our platform including policing policy -- it's a brief video, about 10 minutes, & will give you a good idea about how I present our progressive urban agenda: http://fw.to/cGKNVnH.
Several days later, Louis interviewed de Blasio & asked the mayor about my stating that NYPD arrests are starkly racially biased. De Blasio dismissed our charges, saying that we "don't have all the facts" -- ironic since many of our facts come from his police department. Then, offering an "alternative fact" that he has repeatedly & falsely declared publicly for months, de Blasio said that the NYPD has ended marijuana possession arrests: ". . . .that's something we stopped 2 years ago."
Our campaign followed up by issuing a press statement calling out the mayor for his repeated "marijuana lies," & urged the media to do the same. We also made these key points:
- Here are the actual facts & what the government's own data shows: in 2016, the NYPD made 18,136 marijuana possession arrests & continued the pattern by making 4,183 such arrests for the first 3 months of 2017.
- Mayor de Blasio maintains his "alternative facts" in the face of published findings not only by our campaign & the organization that I founded, the Police Reform Organizing Project, but also by the NY Times editorial board, the Drug Policy Alliance, Professor Harry Levine, & Politico among others.
- The NYPD's marijuana possession arrests are blatantly racist. Though research shows that white people use & sell the drug in proportions equal or greater than African-Americans or Latinos, 90% of NYPD arrests for marijuana possession involve NYers of color.
- It is not surprising that the mayor repeatedly tries to hide the truth that these arrests inflict harm every day on low-income NYers of color as it undercuts his claim that his administration is committed to ending racial & social inequities in our city.
Finally, I repeat my pledge to decriminalize marijuana possession on Day 1 of my administration. I will direct the NYPD to once & for all end its practice of arresting NYers for marijuana possession & use. We will set up monitoring mechanisms in each borough to ensure strict oversight on NYPD arrests & if officers make such arrests, we will dismiss them.