There is more public support for marijuana law reform than ever before with polls showing more than half the country is in favor of legalizing marijuana. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) believes marijuana should be removed from the criminal legal system and regulated for adult use, with equity, social justice, and community reinvestment at the core.
For years, DPA has been on the forefront working to reduce marijuana arrests in New York state and legalize marijuana for adult use. Our Start SMART NY campaign fought to end marijuana prohibition in New York and create a new, well-regulated, and inclusive marijuana industry that is rooted in racial and economic justice. In March 2021, Governor Cuomo signed marijuana legalization into law, following the state legislature’s overwhelmingly approval of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).
What does the MRTA do?
For decades, racist cannabis enforcement has targeted Hispanic/Latinx, Black, Native, and Indigenous people in New Mexico. DPA has been advocating for years at the state legislature for passage of legislation allowing the possession, use, and sales of marijuana. In March 2021, New Mexico passed the Cannabis Regulation Act and an automatic expungement and resentencing bill.
What does the Cannabis Regulation Act do?
Jasmin Reggler was proud of her new job as legislative aide to a Rochester City Council member, but she was fired after just one month when her drug test came back positive for marijuana. Jasmin was not willing to accept the loss of her job for using marijuana on her own time, and she knew that many others had been unfairly denied employment or deterred from even applying for the same reason. She advocated for change, and as of May 2020, city job applicants and employees are no longer tested for marijuana. Drug testing job applicants and employees without evidence of workplace impairment is not only invasive and humiliating but cuts off paths to employment and familial stability.
Learn more about how the drug war robs livelihoods at UprootingTheDrugWar.org.
DPA has worked tirelessly to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act in Congress. We worked with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and then Senator Kamala Harris to draft and introduce the legislation, and partnered with other national civil and human rights organizations to form the Marijuana Justice Coalition, which has worked to ensure that federal marijuana reform puts those who have been most harmed by prohibition front and center.
What does the MORE Act do?
Read our January 2018 report to learn how and why marijuana legalization is working.
The criminalization of marijuana use disproportionately harms young people and people of color, sponsors massive levels of violence and corruption, and fails to curb youth access.
Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation's largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.
Scarce law enforcement resources will be better used to ensure public safety while reducing corrections and court costs. State and local governments would acquire significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales.
Promote consumer safety
Marijuana product testing is becoming a standard requirement for legalized marijuana markets. This means consumers are better informed about the marijuana they use.