Marijuana Advocates Slam Mayor de Blasio

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New York herbalists were beginning to think there was hope for the city's cannabis community. However, after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new policies for marijuana arrests in New York City, herbalists took to the steps of City Hall to voice their opposition.

“It's frustrating that as the New York State Health Department moves toward legalization, the City is continuing its shameful history of racist marijuana enforcement," they said. "It is also confusing because the new policy does not appear to address racial disparities at all, which was the issue that supposedly prompted this in-house review."

The Mayor was supposed to have some focus geared towards minority arrests in regards to cannabis. Kassandra Frederique, Director of the New York Drug Policy Alliance, stated, “People who are directly impacted were not consulted in the Mayor’s review of NYPD enforcement, and although DPA spoke with NYPD the policy shift is not reflective of our joint position: we have firmly said there should be no arrests, no summonses, no using marijuana as a pretext for police interactions, and the beginning of a process to repair the vast harm caused by NYPD's enforcement of marijuana prohibition which has almost exclusively targeted communities of color.”

The following day, a press conference and rally was held to address NYC’s new marijuana policy, to call on the Mayor to instruct the City’s agencies (NYCHA, Administration for Children's Services, professional licensing boards) to address the harms caused by past arrests and reform their policies around marijuana.