arrests

D.C.: Council Expected To Permanenty Ban Marijuana Clubs

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Council Chairman Mendelson Wants Council to Disregard Its Own Task Force Convened to Recommend Way Forward on Marijuana Clubs

DPA: Arrest Numbers Show DC Needs Regulated Marijuana Clubs, Not A Ban

The Council of the District of Columbia has scheduled a Tuesday vote on legislation that restricts adult marijuana use in the District, prohibiting marijuana consumption everywhere but the home.

The legislation is opposed by a majority of District residents and a growing number of council members who oppose limiting consumption of marijuana to private residences, favoring instead the creation of regulated places where adults can legally consume marijuana. Since 2014, nearly 82 percent of all arrests for public consumption in the District have been of black residents. Advocates have voiced concerns over these disparities, and also warn the Council not to cede more control of local marijuana policy to Congress.

New York: NYC Marijuana Possession Arrests Drop Under 17K; First Time Since '96

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67% Drop from 51,000 Arrests in 2011

Still A Tale of Two Cities: Young Black and Latino People Arrested at Higher Rates, Despite Young White People Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

According to data just released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York City marijuana arrests in 2015 dropped to under 17,000 for the first time since 1996. The 16,590 arrests for low-level marijuana possession in 2015 is a 42 percent decline from the 26,386 in 2014 and a 67 percent drop from the nearly 51,000 arrests in 2011.

“New York is finally starting to shed its embarrassing distinction of being the marijuana arrest capital of the world,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York state director at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Over the last twenty years, more than 700,000 lives were irrevocably harmed by our draconian marijuana arrest policies. We must repair the harms of marijuana prohibition and end the biased policing practices that have ruined the lives of so many young Black and Latino New Yorkers.”

In 2015, with the continuous advocacy of community members, advocates, and elected officials – the New York Police Department made 16,590 arrests for low level marijuana possession, down from a high of 26,386 in 2014. This continues a four year trend of declining marijuana possession arrest by the NYPD.

New Hampshire: Primary Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession

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Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents Oppose Arresting People for Simple Possession of Any Drug, Want Health Insurers to Provide Treatment and Support Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Non-Violent Drug Offenders

With the nation’s attention shifting from Iowa to New Hampshire, a recent poll shows a substantial majority of presidential primary voters in the Granite State support decriminalizing drug possession outright.

Sixty-six percent of voters in the first-in-the-nation primary, including half of all Republicans and 68 percent of independents, think people caught with a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use should be evaluated for drug issues, offered treatment but not be arrested or face any jail time.

These findings come in the midst of escalating overdose deaths across the country and unprecedented focus by presidential candidates on alternatives to harsh, ineffective drug policies. Eighty percent of New Hampshire primary voters consider addressing prescription drug and other drug abuse and the recent surge in overdose deaths an important or urgent issue. Sixty-nine percent, including 56 percent of Republicans, say drug abuse should be treated primarily as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem.

Texas: Marijuana Possession Could Soon Get Tickets, Not Arrests, In Dallas

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said he has mixed feelings about allowing his officers to write tickets instead of arresting people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana. But he said the approach is "just so damn practical."

Police officers and city council members discussed the move at Tuesday's public safety committee meeting of the Dallas City Council, reports Melissa Repko at The Dallas Morning News. The "cite and release" pilot program would mean citations for marijuana possession, rather than arrests.

The public safety committee voted to refer the idea to the entire City Council without a recommendation.

A Texas state law passed in 2007 allows cops to issue citations instead of making arrests for some minor offenses, including possession of small amounts of cannabis. The approach is intended to save time and money by keeping minor offenders out of jail and allowing cops to remain on the streets; it doesn't change the official penalty for the crime.

Using cite and release is a "no brainer" that would help save time and lower 911 call response times, said council member Philip Kingston. He said it would allow cops to focus on public safety priorities.

Kingston said he'd legalized marijuana if he could, comparing marijuana possession to jay-walking in terms of seriousness.

Virginia: Marijuana Arrests On The Rise; Blacks Arrested 3 Times More Than Whites

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Virginia has sharply rising arrest totals for marijuana possession, and a disproportionate number of black people have been arrested in the Commonwealth, according to a new study based on data reported to the FBI.

Marijuana arrests dropped nationally by 6.5 percent between 2003 and 2014, but possession arrests in Virginia rose by 76 percent during that period, according to research by the Drug Policy Alliance in New York, reports Tom Jackman at The Washington Post.

Arrests of black people for marijuana in Virginia increased by 106 percent from 2003 to 2013, accounting for 47 percent of the state's arrests, even though the state's population is only 20 percent black.

The stats were compiled by public policy professor Jon Gettman of Shenandoah University in Winchester Va., and follow his national marijuana arrest analysis for the ACLU in 2013. That study showed that black people were 3.7 times more likely than whites nationwide to be arrested for marijuana, and that 88 percent of marijuana arrests were for possession.

The disparity in the District of Columbia, where blacks are eight times more likely to be arrested for simple possession than whites, led the D.C. Council to decriminalize cannabis in 2013, followed by voters legalizing it in 2014.

Virginia: Big Increase In Marijuana Possession Arrests, Especially In Black Communities

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Virginia Moving in Wrong Direction as U.S. States and Congress Reform Marijuana Laws

Black Virginians Arrested for Marijuana Possession at 3.3 Times the Rate of White Virginians, Despite Equal Rates of Marijuana Use

Report Released as Thousands Prepare to Gather Next Month in Arlington for World’s Largest Drug Policy Reform Conference

A new report has found that marijuana possession arrests in Virginia have increased dramatically over the last 10 years, especially in black communities. The report was authored by Shenandoah University professor and researcher Jon Gettman and released on Wednesday by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

“As states around the country pass reforms to scale back the role of criminalization in marijuana policy, Virginia appears to be moving in the wrong direction,” said Lindsey Lawson Battaglia, policy manager with the DPA and former Virginia criminal defense attorney. “This troubling report should encourage Virginia lawmakers to fix the Commonwealth's broken marijuana policies.”

Using data compiled from the Uniform Crime (UCR) Program and the Virginia State Police, the report found that marijuana possession arrests in Virginia consistently increased from 2003 to 2013, as did the racial disparity in arrest rates. Federal government data consistently shows that black and white people use marijuana at similar rates.

U.S.: What Happened When States Legalized Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When the sale of marijuana for recreational use became legal in Colorado and Washington last year -- and in Oregon this year -- a few predictions, both good and bad, were made about the outcome. Here's what has actually happened so far.

Positives

• No increase in teen use: Opponents of legalization claimed young people would flock to weed if the legal penalties were removed. That hasn't happened, reports Daniel Dale at The Star. Major studies have found no increase in teen use in states the legalized medical marijuana; in Colorado, fewer students said they used pot after legalization than before.

• Tax windfall: Colorado has taken in more than $86 million in cannabis taxes and fees this year, far more than for alcohol. Washington state is predicting $1 billion in marijuana taxes over the next four years. "All that money that was going to criminals and the hands of cartels is now being sent toward legitimate taxpaying businesses," said Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Oregon: Possession, Home Cultivation of Marijuana Become Legal For Adults July 1

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Oregon to End Wasteful and Racially Disproportionate Marijuana Possession Arrests; State Expects Significant Fiscal Benefits

Beginning July 1, adults 21 and older in Oregon will be able to legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside their home. Adults may also grow up to four plants as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure allowing for commercial retail sales is still in the works and will not be implemented until next year.

Oregon voters passed Measure 91 last November with 56 percent support. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed suit, while Washington D.C. passed a more limited measure that legalized possession and home cultivation of marijuana but did not address its taxation and sale due to D.C. law.

Alaska’s law started to take effect earlier than Oregon’s, with Alaska officially ending the criminalization of marijuana possession and cultivation in February. Thus Oregon is now the 4th U.S. state to begin implementing its marijuana legalization law.

U.S.: Drug Policy Alliance Releases Footage Featuring Everyday People Using Marijuana

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New Open-License Footage Shatters Stereotypes and Captures the Responsible, Modern-Day Marijuana Consumer

B-Roll Project Follows DPA Stock Photo Series Depicting Regular People Using Marijuana

To combat the predominant, stereotypic images of people who use marijuana, and to encourage news outlets to use images that accurately reflect modern-day marijuana consumers, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is releasing free, open-license B-roll footage for editorial use.

The footage was shot in Portland, Oregon, and features a diverse group in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, doing a variety of activities, such as playing a board game, socializing at home, or purchasing marijuana at a licensed dispensary. The footage shows people consuming marijuana from joints, bubblers, vaporizers, pens and tinctures.

“We’ve all seen it before, a serious news story about marijuana policy that cuts away to footage of a young guy covered in tie-dye and marijuana leaves who looks more or less like a cannabis cartoon,” said Sharda Sekaran, managing director of communications for the DPA. “It’s goofy, awkward, distracting and doesn’t reflect the average marijuana consumer, who more than likely looks like a normal person you might see at a bank, supermarket or office. We’re hoping media will use this free video footage, or at the very least think twice about running stereotypical stoner images for their marijuana stories.”

Missouri: Suspect Tells Cops, 'I'm Not Gonna Lie. I Sell Marijuana'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A 27-year-old Missouri man was charged with selling marijuana after confessing during a traffic stop for having the wrong license plate, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said on Friday.

According to court documents, the original incident took place on July 24, 2014, reports Brandie Piper at KSDK. When an officer smelled marijuana, suspect James Redmond allegedly said, "I just smoked some when I left Hotshots. It's in the center console."

The officer searched as instructed and discovered a glass pipe, an e-cigarette, capsules with a dark liquid smelling like marijuana, and $1,534 in cash.

When the officer asked where the money came from, Redmond -- who evidently has a few things to learn when it comes to slinging trees -- replied, "I'm not gonna lie. I sell marijuana," reports Kevin S. Held at KTVI.

Redmond went on to tell the officer he had a book bag full of weed in the back seat.

The officer looked through the book bag and found two large bags and one small bag filled with cannabis, a digital scale, a bag of empty baggies, and a blue container containing marijuana with a label on the lid reading, "Marijuana Grown in Colorado."

Redmond was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a felony.

Photo of James Redmond: St. Louis County Police Department

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