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Overwhelming Support for Change to New York City’s Racist Marijuana Policy

Ending the racist and often illegal way the New York City police have abused the marijuana possession laws enjoys overwhelming support.

According to Quinnipiac polling, 71 percent of New York City voters support “Mayor de Blasio’s decision to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, so that people found to be carrying small amounts of marijuana could get a summons, similar to a traffic ticket, rather than being arrested.” Only 26 percent of voters in the city oppose the policy change.

The poll also found that 70 percent of voters don’t think this change will increase crime in New York City.

It is worth pointing out that de Blasio didn’t “decriminalize” marijuana possession in New York City. He just decided to make the New York City Police finally start actually following the law.

Marijuana possession in New York state has been decriminalization for over 30 years. The problem was New York City Police were tricking people, stretching the law, or even outright lying to claim the marijuana they found was in “public view.” This exploited a loophole in the state law which defines only marijuana in public view as a misdemeanor. These highly questionable tactics were used almost exclusively in parts of the city that are predominately Black or Hispanic.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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