Inequitable Marijuana Criminalization, COVID-19, and Socioeconomic Disparities

A report from Drug Policy Alliance & the Public Science Project Highlights Makes the Case for Community Reinvestment and Social Equity in Marijuana Legalization Bill

A new report (Adler, Dakin, Linder, Moore, & Stoudt, 2021) released in March, by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Public Science Project, Inequitable Marijuana Criminalization, COVID-19, and Socioeconomic Disparities: The Case for Community Reinvestment in New York, shows deep racial disparities and economic impacts in marijuana arrests across the state of New York. Four specific case studies document how, despite regional differences, people of color in New York City, New Rochelle, Syracuse, and Buffalo are consistently over-represented in marijuana arrests, and areas with the highest marijuana arrest rates also tend to have proportionally larger populations of color, according to the report. Across all cities, there were also higher COVID-19 positivity rates among the high marijuana arrest zip codes compared to the low marijuana arrest zip codes. [read more…]

“These findings reveal how stark and concentrated the disparities are in communities of color,” said Dr. Brett Stoudt, Associate Professor in the Psychology Doctoral Program at the CUNY Graduate Center and Associate Director of the Public Science Project. “We need comprehensive legislation like MRTA now more than ever because COVID-19 has only served to heighten the severity of this deeply entrenched and structural precarity.”

 



The report received coverage in several news outlets:

STATE OF POLITICS: Report Finds Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests, By Nick Reisman

The report comes as state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are on the verge of a potential agreement for legalizing adult-use cannabis in New York, allowing for the sale of cannabis products and for New Yorkers to grow limited numbers of marijuana plants at home. [read more…]

PATCH: New Report: Race Plays Role In New Rochelle Marijuana Arrests, By Jeff Edwards

A new report (Adler, Dakin, Linder, Moore, & Stoudt, 2021) released this week by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Public Science Project at the CUNY Graduate Center reaches some striking conclusions. The research study, Inequitable Marijuana Criminalization, COVID-19, and Socioeconomic Disparities: The Case for Community Reinvestment in New York, concludes that there are significant racial disparities in marijuana arrests across the state. New Rochelle was among four specific case studies. Other cities analyzed included New York City, Syracuse and Buffalo. [read more…]

NORML: New York: Analyses Find That People of Color Are Far More Likely to Be Arrested for Marijuana-Related Violations

A pair of new analyses of marijuana-related arrests in various cities in New York state finds that people of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana-related offenses… Another report, published by the Drug Policy Alliance, examined marijuana arrest rates over the past decade in four cities: Buffalo, New York City, New Rochelle, and Syracuse. In Syracuse, Blacks were four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis offenses than were whites. In Buffalo, Blacks were three times as likely to be arrested. In New York City, Blacks and Latinos were eight times more likely to be arrested than were whites. In New Rochelle, authors reported that Blacks comprise 20 percent of the city’s population but were 46 percent of those arrested for marijuana violations between 2018 and January 2021. [read more…]

 

Suggested Citation for the Report:

Adler, J., Dakin, N., Linder, M., Moore, M., & Stoudt, B. (2021, March). Inequitable Marijuana Criminalization, COVID-19, and Socioeconomic Disparities: The Case for Community Reinvestment in New York. New York, NY: Public Science Project and the Drug Policy Alliance.