New Mayor, Same Problems: Low-Level Marijuana Arrests Still on the Rise in New York

NEW YORK, NY -- Bill de Blasio, as candidate for New York City mayor last year, promised to end marijuana arrests, noting that they have “disastrous consequences for individuals and their families.” As mayor, however, de Blasio is not living up to his promise. According to a report released this week by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, between March and August of this year, NYPD made hundreds more low-level marijuana arrests than they did during the same six-month period under New York City’s previous mayor, Michael Bloomberg. The report, which draws on data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice, depicts the blatant racial disparity in low-level marijuana arrests: the NYPD continues to arrest Latinos at nearly four times the rate as white people and black people at seven times the rate of white people. This is in spite of numerous studies that demonstrate that young black people and Latinos in New York and elsewhere are no more likely than their white counterparts to use marijuana. Moreover, the report analyzes the number of arrests by neighborhood, showing that the majority of arrests are centered in predominantly black and Latino areas. “The NYPD is clearly never going to

Chicago Jail Guard Busted for Smuggling Pot to Inmates in Sandwiches

CHICAGO, IL — A corrections officer in Chicago’s Cook County Jail was arrested on Tuesday and faces a federal criminal charge for allegedly trying to smuggle two sandwiches packed with marijuana into the jail last year, federal authorities said. Three inmates, two civilian women and a police dispatcher have also

First Civil Citation for Marijuana Issued in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The City of Philadelphia has now implemented the new fine structure for marijuana possession. PhillyNORML activist and US Marine Corps combat veteran Mike Whiter received the first citation this morning at 8:00AM. Whiter negotiated with PPD Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan and Civil Affairs department head Captain Stephen

University of Alabama Tight End Busted for Quarter Pound of Pot

TUSCALOOSA, AL — A University of Alabama sophomore football player has allegedly been busted for having a quarter pound of pot and over $4,600 in cash in his dorm room. According to a complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County last week, agents with the West Alabama Narcotics

Marijuana Decriminalization Takes Effect in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The City of Philadelphia’s new fine structure for handling marijuana possession charges takes effect today. This will largely stop the procedure of using custodial arrests — handcuffs and holding cells — for small amounts of cannabis. Philadelphia Police will begin issuing civil citations instead — $25 for

D.C. Council Approves Sealing Court Records for Marijuana Offenses

D.C. Council Approves Sealing Court Records for Marijuana Offenses

WASHINGTON, DC — Residents of the nation’s capital who have been convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses could apply to have those criminal records sealed under a bill granted initial approval by the D.C. City Council on Tuesday. D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced the record-sealing bill. He…

D.C. Council Votes Unanimously to Strengthen Record Sealing Laws to Relieve People with Prior Marijuana Possession Arrest

D.C. Council Votes Unanimously to Strengthen Record Sealing Laws to Relieve People with Prior Marijuana Possession Arrest

WASHINGTON, DC — The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a bill that would improve the process by which a person can seal criminal records pertaining to conduct that has since been decriminalized or legalized. The D.C. Council is expected to take a final vote on the…

Philadelphia Becomes Largest US City to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Philadelphia Becomes Largest US City to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

As anticipated, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed municipal legislation this week removing criminal penalties for the possession of minor quantities of cannabis by adults. The new measure amends citywide penalties pertaining to the possession of up to approximately one ounce of cannabis (30 grams) from a criminal misdemeanor to…

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Wednesday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed Councilman Jim Kenney’s bill that replaces criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. The bill is set to go into effect on October 20, 2014. The initial…

Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Wednesday

Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Wednesday

ANNAPOLIS, MD — A new law that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Maryland takes effect Wednesday. The bill, Senate Bill 364, will replace the penalty for possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana with a civil fine instead of a criminal offense. Instead of…

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Too Many Patients Left Out of Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill

Too Many Patients Left Out of Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill

In a landmark vote last week, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a limited medical marijuana bill that would provide some limited cannabis products to certain qualifying patients in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians suffering from epilepsy, seizure disorder, PTSD, MS and cancer patients will have limited access to medicinal cannabis products. Senators Mike…

Wisconsin Marijuana Activists Erect Billboard Calling Out Senators’ Obstruction of Medical Marijuana

Wisconsin Marijuana Activists Erect Billboard Calling Out Senators’ Obstruction of Medical Marijuana

MADISON, WI — The League of Marijuana Voters launched a billboard Monday that highlights two Wisconsin state senators’ obstruction of medical marijuana legalization. The first ever billboard advocating for medical marijuana legislation in Wisconsin is part of a new campaign targeting Senators Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Mary Lazich (R-New…

Bill to Add PTSD to New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program Filed in Assembly

Bill to Add PTSD to New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program Filed in Assembly

TRENTON, NJ — A bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in New Jersey was filed Monday. The bill, Assembly Bill 3726, is sponsored by Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) and Linda Stender (D-Middlesex, Somerset and Union). Post-traumatic stress disorder is…

Pennsylvania Senate Approves Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

Pennsylvania Senate Approves Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania state senators approved legislation Wednesday that, if enacted, would make several forms of medical marijuana legal, including extracted oil, edible products, and ointments and tinctures, to patients with debilitating medical conditions. According to the proposal, Pennsylvania residents would need an access card from the health…

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill 43-7

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill 43-7

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Senate voted 43-7 to approve an amended version of a medical marijuana bill Wednesday, sending Senate Bill 1182 to the House for consideration. “History has been made, as this is the first vote a bill of this kind has ever seen in Pennsylvania,” Senator…

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Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Stop Militarizing U.S. Law Enforcement

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Stop Militarizing U.S. Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced legislation to reform the Pentagon’s Military Transfer Program, which transfers military equipment to law enforcement. The program has come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers after images from Ferguson, Missouri, showed law enforcement dressed like combat soldiers,…

Federal Bill to Legalize CBD Oil Introduced by Pennsylvania Republican

Federal Bill to Legalize CBD Oil Introduced by Pennsylvania Republican

WASHINGTON, DC — A Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania will introduce a bill to Congress that would make cannabidiol legal under federal law.  Also known as CBD oil, the marijuana-based oil has been shown to reduce seizures in children with debilitating epilepsy. US Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) announced the bill at a press conference…

Sen. Rand Paul Proposes Amendment to Protect Marijuana Laws

Sen. Rand Paul Proposes Amendment to Protect Marijuana Laws

WASHINGTON, DC — On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul proposed an amendment that would keep the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and physicians as well as interfering with states that implement medical marijuana laws. The amendment was added to a jobs bill currently being heard on the Senate…

US House Votes to Limit Restrictions on State-Approved Marijuana Commerce

US House Votes to Limit Restrictions on State-Approved Marijuana Commerce

WASHINGTON, DC — A majority of members of the US House of Representatives voted last week in favor of an amendment that restricts the Treasury Department‘s ability to take action against financial institutions that possess relations with businesses engaged in state-sanctioned activities specific to cannabis commerce. The amendment, offered…

Medical Marijuana Patients Hail Landmark Victory with Another Unprecedented Vote in Congress

Medical Marijuana Patients Hail Landmark Victory with Another Unprecedented Vote in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — Medical marijuana patients hailed another landmark victory Wednesday when Congress voted 231-192 to restrict Department of Treasury funds from “being used to prohibit or penalize a financial institution from providing services to a marijuana-related business that engages in activities permissible under state or local laws.” The amendment…

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