<p>Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Kassandra Frederique (646) 209-0374</p>
DETROIT, MI—Marijuana arrests and mass incarceration will take center stage at Netroots Nation 2014 this week in Detroit.
On Friday, July 18 at 4:30 p.m. ET, the ninth-annual gathering of progressive voices will feature a panel, “Marijuana Arrests: the Gateway to Mass Incarceration.” The panel will feature Kassandra Frederique, a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. Frederique is currently organizing with groups around the state of New York to address bias policing practices, unlawful marijuana arrests and collateral consequences of criminalization.
Every 48 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana possession in the United States. Most of these arrests are of people of color, despite the fact that white people use and sell marijuana at higher rates. In this panel they will explore how the drug war and biased policing practices fuel marijuana arrests and, in turn, mass incarceration. Panelists will discuss how in New York City, the marijuana arrest capital of the world, communities are organizing to end marijuana arrests and reverse the collateral consequences haunting the nearly half a million New Yorkers now living with criminal records.
“I’m thrilled to see Netroots Nation examine the failed war on drugs and how marijuana arrests fuel mass incarceration,” said Frederique. “Netroots Nation is a cutting-edge incubator of ideas and I’m excited to have a rich discussion during the panel and action from folks afterwards.”
This summer, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced a plan to stop prosecuting arrests for small amounts of marijuana – a major victory for advocates who will continue to push other District Attorney's across the state to take similar actions.
In 2015, DPA and VOCAL-NY will advocate for the passage of the Fairness & Equity Act – innovative state-wide legislation that will end discriminatory arrests, provide relief for communities already harmed by broken marijuana laws, and strengthen the integrity of New York's Penal System.
The panel will be moderated by Alyssa Aguilera, political director of VOCAL-NY.
"Fixing America's broken marijuana laws and ending mass incarceration must be a priority for all progressives," said Alyssa Aguilera of VOCAL-NY. "Thank you to Netroots Nation for the opportunity to share our campaign to end marijuana arrests in New York and facilitate a lively conversation on drug policy and racial justice with some of the most innovative and thoughtful advocates in the country."
Netroots Nation, an annual convention, aims to amplify progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. This year will feature 80 panels and 40 training sessions over three days.
People can view the Friday panel live at: http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana-arrests-nn14