Posts tagged ‘New York’

New York Legislators Don’t Understand Meaning of’Reform’

Some state senators in New York don’t understand the recent reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Instead, they are referring to them as the ‘Drug Dealer Protection Act’.

Of course, this is completely absurd. The reforms simply removed mandatory minimum sentences which limit judicial power. Of course, judges still have the power to sentence people to long, harsh terms in prison – they just also now have the power not to sentence them when they deem it inappropriate. It’s the way most aspects the judicial process work – for some reason, some people like to think drug policy should be treated differently. (Of course, some people also think that drug possession should not be treated as a criminal issue in the first place, but that’s a separate matter).

The Drug Policy Alliance has set up a very quick form through  which you can let New York legislators know that the public opposes reversing these reforms. Full text of the email from gabriel sayegh appears after the jump.

(more…)

June 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

NORML Demonstration on Marijuana Legalization to be held Tomorrow in New York

Tomorrow, NORML will present a $14 billion check to the US Treasury, representing the expected tax revenue from legalizing and taxing marijuana. The press conference will be held at 8 AM, and the check will be presented at 4:20. More details can be found on the NORML website.

April 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Drug Tests May Be Imposed on Welfare Recipients

Eight – yes, eight – states are considering making welfare recipients pass drug tests in order to receive welfare money. West Virginia, Kansas, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Hawaii, and Oklahoma all are considering or are in the process of enacting such laws. (Arizona already failed in January to pass a bill that would enact this policy).

At first, this proposal seems like a sensible way to make sure that the poor, who are receiving financial assistance from the government, do not ‘waste their money on drugs’. However, it simply singles out the poor for an activity common to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

There is no debate that the rich and poor alike use drugs. However, poor people are more likely than the rich to be on welfare (what an understatement). Arrests for drug charges are already dramatically skewed by race and socioeconomic class. While the basic fact remains that nobody should be punished for issues such as marijuana use, the fact that a person on welfare should lose a crucial part of their day-to-day budget for it is as preposterous as the Rockefeller Drug Laws in New York.

You might argue ‘But why should they be allowed to waste government money?’ That depends on your definition of the word ‘waste’. Is it wasting money when they instead buy tobacco and alcohol? Or lottery tickets? What someone does with their money is their own business – absent harm to others – and if you want to ensure that they use it ‘properly’ (according to your defintion of that word), then that’s what food stamps are for. (That’s another debate that I won’t start here).

Drug tests, simply put, are an invasion of privacy. Assuming that one’s use of marijuana does not interfere with one’s job, it should not be a factor in employment decisions (and the same logic applies to welfare). This is the same policy that most companies have regarding tobacco and alcohol use – as long as a person does not show up to work drunk or smoke in the office, their use of these two drugs is considered acceptable. If someone does not show up to work while high or otherwise let their use of marijuana affect their work performance, their use of this drug should be considered acceptable as well.

If you live in one of the states that are considering this legislation, please contact your legislators and inform them of your opposition. A sample script/letter is follows (you can modify the text to fit the situation in your state).

 

Dear ____________________

I am shocked to hear that legislators in ________ (your state) are considering subjecting welfare recipients to drug testing. This is an invasion of privacy, as well as discrimination against lower socioeconomic classes.

People of all levels of income and all races use drugs such as marijuana, just as people of all levels of income use tobacco and alcohol. The idea that the poor should be singled out for using one of these drugs goes against the idea of equality that this country stands for.

Whatever the reasons a welfare recipient may have for buying and using drugs, this decision should not threaten his or her means of survival. Such policies only serve to entrench welfare recpients further in poverty.

This policy will not reduce drug use. It will reduce the number of eligible welfare recipients, but at a huge, immeasurable cost to society by increasing the number of people who live in extreme poverty and have no access to government assistance. I urge you to oppose this policy.

Sincerely,

____________

April 6, 2009 at 8:30 pm 1 comment

Rockefeller Reforms Passed By New York State Senate

Voting on the reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws was initially delayed by illness; Senator Ruth Hassel-Thompson was taken ill on Wednesday (Senator Hassel-Thompson attended the New Directions for New York conference in January, sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine, so her vote for the reforms could have been considered safe). Despite this turn, the state senate approved serious reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws as part of the state budget by a 32-30 vote margin. Leading the debates in favor of the reform was Senator Eric Schneiderman.

The DPA has created an automated feature to thank senators; please consider sending a quick message of appreciation.

April 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm 1 comment

New York Assembly Passes Rockefeller Reform; Senate Votes Tonight

Yesterday, the New York State Assembly passed a reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws as a part of the state budget. The state senate will vote on the issue tonight. Please send a letter to your state senator if you have not already and ask them to support this necessary reform. 

 

April 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Repeal of Rockefeller Drug Laws – Senate Votes Tomorrow

The Drug Policy Alliance just sent an email reminding all New Yorkers that the state legislature votes tomorrow on a repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Contact your legislators and Governor Paterson to ensure that this repeal passes. (The DPA’s automated feature will send your letter to both your state senator and Governor Paterson in one go).

March 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

Rally to End the Rockefeller Drug Laws

On Wednesday, March 25th, there will be a rally to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws outside Governor Paterson’s office in New York City. The event description, as given by Drop the Rock, is as follows:

 

Rally to End the Rockefeller Drug Laws

Wednesday, March 25 at 1:00pm
Governor Paterson’s NYC Office
633 3rd Ave. (3rd Ave. between 40th and 41st sts.)
Rockefeller Rally Flyer

In 2002, Senator David Paterson was arrested in an act of civil disobedience organized by the Drop the Rock Campaign promoting the sweeping overhaul of the Rockefeller Drug Laws outside of the New York City offices of then-Governor George Pataki. 

On Wednesday, March 25, hundreds of family members, formerly incarcerated persons, doctors, lawyers, and advocates will return to this site to urge him and legislative leaders to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws this year.  

The word from Albany is that lawmakers are getting closer to a final package, we need a strong showing in the streets now more than ever to remind the state’s leaders of the stakes of failing to end these laws once again.

Please join us as we say NO to over 35 years of injustice.

For more information contact Caitlin Dunklee atcdunklee@correctionalassociation.org or (212) 254-5700 ext. 339.

March 22, 2009 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

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