Yesterday, activists and proponents of marijuana rallied on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's home doorstep to call for an end to the costly war on marijuana.
The event was put together by the Drug Policy Alliance, VOCAL-NY, the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, and Women on the Rise Telling Her Story (WORTH). Protesters brought signs and even Bloomberg masks as they decended upon the Mayor's home, an apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Among the big topics were the NYPD's "stop-and-frisk" policy, as well as the nearly $75 million focused on low-level marijuana arrests when other New York City services are possibly losing funding.
According to Toke of the Town, "in the last five years under Bloomberg, the NYPD made more marijuana arrests than in the twenty-four years under Mayors Giuliani, Dinkins and Koch combined."
Despite a 1977 decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, the NYPD has continued to aggressively pursue these low-level arrests - often targeting young African Americans and Latinos. And according to Dr. Harry G. Levine, Sociology Professor at Queens College, U.S. government studies often find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than African Americans and Latinos, yet those minorities are more often stopped, frisked, and ultimately arrested for possession. Those arrests create a criminal record that follows the person their whole life, negatively impacting their ability to get employment, housing, and even schooling and credit cards.
You can see pictures of yesterday's event on the Drug Policy Alliance's Facebook Page.