Melissa joined a rally held by VOCAL-NY near Mayor Bloomberg’s home to criticize the NYPD’s aggressive marijuana arrest practices, which disproportionately target communities of color and cost the City at least $75 million per year. Watch the video above for Melissa’s remarks at the rally.
In the 25th Precinct (East Harlem), there were 1,069 low-level marijuana arrests in 2010, compared to just 34 in the 19th Precinct where the Mayor lives. Melissa is currently drafting a City Council resolution in support of bipartisan legislation introduced in the State Legislature that would de-criminalize displaying marijuana in public view. Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is already de-criminalized under State law. However, when police perform stop and frisks, they routinely ask that individuals empty their pockets. If they take out marijuana, it is considered to be in public view and can be punished by arrest.
Click here to read more background information in the full press release. Below are links to the press coverage from the event:
- NY1: Protesters Rally Against Marijuana Arrests
- New York Times City Room Blog: East 79th Street, 10:26 A.M.
- 1010 WINS: Demonstrators Protest Bloomberg’s Policy On Drug Offenses, Arrests
- Huffington Post: NYC Wins Award for the Most Marijuana Arrests in the World
- DNA Info: Pot Activists Rally Near Bloomberg’s UES Townhouse
- Politicker: Critics of Marijuana Arrests Make an Economics Argument