New York Legislature & Gov. Cuomo Must Legalize Cannabis the Right Way by Passing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) Now
New York, NY — Today, the Start SMART NY coalition, Drug Policy Alliance, and additional allies held a statewide Day of Action for Marijuana Justice, calling on the legislature and Gov. Cuomo to legalize cannabis by passing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (S.854/A.1248) now.
Statement from Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and member of Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade):
"Our state has one shot to become a national leader in the fight for true marijuana justice by enacting a law with strong social equity and community reinvestment protections. There have been more than 800,000 arrests for low-level marijuana just in the last 25 years alone in New York, with extreme racial disparities. Legalization must be centered in providing comprehensive restitution to New Yorkers across the state who have been deeply harmed by prohibition.
The bills are due, and we have receipts -- we've been clear that New York needs marijuana justice and this is the time to act. The Legislature and the Governor must legalize in a way that expunges records, addresses immigration concerns, and ensures families are not ripped apart by child welfare allegations. Legalization has to address the barriers to stable housing and employment because of the way criminalization has destabilized people’s lives. By passing the MRTA, we can legalize cannabis in a way that will bring economic and racial justice to the communities that have been hit hardest by the war on drugs and COVID-19 in New York.
The time for action is now. We urge swift passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to secure justice, jobs, and equity for the millions of New Yorkers that have borne the brunt of marijuana criminalization and restitution for the communities most harmed by the war on drugs.”