Drug Law

NORML Calls for a Greener, Safer St. Patrick's Day with Marijuana

| by NORML

*Empire State NORML and noted speakers come downtown for a press conference concerned about social and property damage associated with St. Patrick’s Day Calling for marijuana to be recognized as a safer alternative to alcohol.

*Demanding the NYPD respect marijuana’s decriminalized status.

*Celebrating the premiere of the new NORML ad, running in Times Square

This coming Tuesday at high noon, Empire State NORML, the New York Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will rally at City Hall Park on the Broadway side. They will be presenting marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol for New York’s many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Dozens are expected to attend and it’s certain to gain the attention of the hundreds of financial district workers who access the park area every lunchtime.

Speakers include Dr. Julie Holland attending physician and board-certified psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital and CUNY Professor Harry Levine author of the 2008 NYCLU report, “Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City 1997-2007“.

-Alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana-
According to Dr. Holland “Say what you will about marijuana, one thing you can’t say: pot kills. No practical lethal dose has ever been established; no fatal overdose has ever been recorded. In America, the most likely harm to result from using cannabis is being arrested.”

Dr. Holland added “Alcohol kills brain cells and liver cells. If you drink long enough, heavily enough, you will end up needing a new liver and a new brain.  American hospitals are clogged with people suffering from alcohol-induced dementia and liver failure. And don’t forget: abrupt withdrawal from alcohol, once you are addicted, carries a thirty percent mortality.  The DT’s can kill you, just as getting too drunk can kill you. Alcohol is a toxic drug. And it is legal.”

-Call for the NYPD to stop unjust marijuana prosecutions-

Empire State NORML will also call on the New York City Police Department to enforce the marijuana possession laws in line with its decriminalized status under New York State penal law.

In 2008, the New York City Police Department made 40,383 marijuana possession arrests-over 110 per day, and more than all the marijuana possession arrests under Mayors Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani combined. Most of those arrested are young, male and black and Latino

Professor Levine explains “In 2008, the NYPD made 40,300 lowest level marijuana possession arrests [NY State Penal Law 221.10] In 2009, the NYPD made 46,400 of these marijuana possession arrests. A 15% increase from 2008, and the second highest number of pot possession arrests ever, bested only by the year 2000 when the NYPD had five thousand more cops.

“As in 2008, those the NYPD arrested were 54% blacks, 33% Latinos, and 10% whites. In 2009, as in 2008, police arrested blacks for pot possession at seven times the rate of whites, and Latinos at four times the rate of whites. Most of the people arrested were under 26 years of age and about 30% were teenagers. 90% are male.  Most of the people arrested are black and Latino teenagers and young men. In all of the arrests, marijuana possession was the highest charge or the only one.”

Noted Doug Greene of Empire State NORML, “Even though New York State decriminalized marijuana in 1977, New York City has become the marijuana arrest capital of the world,” He added “New York City’s prosecution of young, poor minorities for pot possession doesn’t come cheap, it cost taxpayers between $60,000,000 and $100,000,000 in 2008 alone.  How can we justify these expenses when New York City is facing multi-billion budget gaps as far as the eye can see?”

-CBS changes position and allows NORML ad in Times Square-

Money can grow on trees.” That is the message of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation (NORML) in a 15-second digital ad scheduled to debut in New York City’s Times Square this week. The advertisement, produced and paid for by NORML’s educational arm, The NORML Foundation, will air on the CBS Super Screen through May 31, 2010