A Tale of Two Cities: Why DC and NY are Worlds Apart

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel March 23, 2015

    Marijuana legalizationWashington, DC and New York City are only 225 miles apart, a four-hour drive up I-95, or a 3½ hour train ride on Amtrak. And both jurisdictions have taken positive steps over the last couple of years to stop arresting marijuana smokers. But in other ways, they are in parallel universes.

    In one city the police chief is embracing marijuana legalization, and touting it as a helpful step in building community relations. And in the other, the police commissioner is saying marijuana has caused an increase in homicides and shootings, even worse than the cocaine and heroin epidemics of the 1980s and ’90s. It would be difficult to find a more stark contrast in policing strategies.

    To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.

    27 responses to “A Tale of Two Cities: Why DC and NY are Worlds Apart”

    1. Kenny says:

      I believe that marijauna should be legalized because tabaco and alcohol is a lot worse then weed and yet that stuff is legal but marijauna is not

    2. Tom says:

      Off topic. What happens to the “so-called” Tennessee marijuana tax stamp, when/if the decriminalization of small amounts of pot passes? I figure they probably haven’t had too many people inquiring about them. I suppose Alaska never had to deal with the ridiculous stamp.

    3. Odhinn says:

      I love the NY theory that marijuana is causing murders without stating that it is because it is illegal.

      I saw a documentary once about cigarettes in prison, and they were selling for 100.00 a pack…a guy got a deal and bought 3 cartons for 1500.00. And, understandably there was violence over them. When they asked the warden about permitting cigarettes, he replied, “Naw…we’ve already had (X) people killed over cigarettes in the past (X) months, we ain’t gonna legalize ’em.

      How clueless.

    4. TheOracle says:

      FYI, from the Drug Policy Alliance web site, another organization I donate to all to happily! Come on, NYC! Legalize in NY!

      New York City Council Issues Formal Call for Decriminalizing and Legalizing Marijuana

      New York: This week, the New York City Council called for the state of New York to pass historic legislation to both decriminalize and to tax and regulate marijuana. As part of the Council’s State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the 2015-2016 legislative session, the New York City Council urged the state legislature to pass two historic marijuana policy reforms – the Fairness and Equity Act and the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA). The Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito had previously announced her support for marijuana legalization in November, but this marks the first time that marijuana decriminalization and legalization have been part of the Council’s official legislative agenda.


    5. New York has sort of a two steps forward one step back approach to marijuana… We’ve made some real progress in the past several years, but it seems like it’s frequently being undone in one way or another. We have decriminalized pot and yet pot arrests remain high… We have reduced the number of stop-and-frisk incidents, and yet pot arrests still remain incredibly racially biased. And we recently passed a medical marijuana bill, but it’s so restrictive almost no one who needs the medicine can get it.

      Being a medical marijuana patient in NYC sucks. You become a criminal simply for trying to find the medicine that makes you feel better. But I still have hope for my city… 2016 will be the year of change for marijuana laws all around the country. In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you all would read my blog post about my own struggles as a medical cannabis patient living in NYC: http://www.davidtheexpert.com/post.php?id=14&question=Why_New_York_City_needs_Legal_Medical_Marijuana I wrote it from my heart, and I know you guys will understand my pain.

    6. Bob Constantine says:

      Cops sometimes get addicted to donuts, it makes them want to jump out of windows and think they can fly.

      I’ve seen the devastation and ruined lives of donut addiction.

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      So we contrast DC’s Lanier saying, “All those arrests do is make people hate us.” with NYPD’s Bratton STILL fighting cultural battles left over from the 1960s and blaming marijuana.

      This is shaping up as an issue for the 2016 election, not just in the general election, but also within the Republican party. If the conservatives win the nomination and the election, you can kiss any progress on reform goodbye for at least a decade — probably the rest of my life.

      If you lean Republican, and you’re visiting NORML’s website, you need to consider just how important NORML’s goal is compared to the rest of your concerns for the country.

    8. Eric K. Johnson says:

      “Naw…we’ve already had (X) people killed over cigarettes in the past (X) months, we ain’t gonna legalize ‘em.

      How clueless.- Odhinn

      Who smuggles those boxes of cancer sticks into the Prisons?

      Many prison officials disapprove of inmates leaving the prison to purchase addictive drugs…so that only leaves employees who can leave the prison.

      Whoever is smuggling addictive drugs to a caged clientele knows exactly what they are doing and why…Prison employees don’t make a great deal of money via pay or salary…some of them may choose to “supplement” their income by exploiting imprisoned addicts?

      Drug debts are the most common reason for violent acts of retribution in prison.

      The persons who smuggle addictive drugs into prisons could not care any le$$…the illegal, exorbitant profits are what matters to all actual criminals…no matter what title the actual criminals assume.

      I should have become a prison guard instead of a cannabis criminal?…but… then I would have had to look in the mirror and see a generally sadistic cretin…upon retrospect, I made the right choice!

    9. St. Nick 'n' Dime says:

      Anti-pot people I guess think awful things will happen if Marijuana is changed from a crime to a right. It’s still here right now but I guess being open and honest about it will open up darkness in people’s brains or something. That’s at least what they think. You know, bad things happen without drugs all the time. They’ve happened for thousands of years before people knew about them. In fact, things have gotten better since drugs were introduced in the 60s. In the 1950s, African citizens had to ride the back of the bus, eat at colored diners and were loathed because their skin is more tan. Look at all the great things that have happened since 1965: mentally ill people are no longer in cages in Pennhurst, internet computer advances sparked by someone who did LSD, people feel better plus way more. It’s true you could freak-out on certain drugs but that can be controlled and avoided and we’re not talking about legalizing acid. Weed gives a good high it makes you happy music sounds awesome food tastes great after smoking high quality weed tastes good itself it actually changes reality for the better for 45 minutes to an hour and a half. And if you do become paranoid on it all you have to do is eat some food and the high will go away. There are thousands of medical uses. And people should be able to feel the way they want legally especially something as safe as marijuana. People are going to do it, legal or not, we could make serious money from it and create millions of jobs.People love the way it makes you feel and this ongoing lost war on drugs isn’t helping anyone. Weed has been used for 5 thousand years or more. Never killed one person. God invented it and it wasn’t for bad purposes. We want to smoke pot without avoiding cops and dealing with cartels and or mafia. In the name of God, please make pot legal. You don’t know how great a drug you’re missing.

    10. Eric K. Johnson says:

      War on Donuts!

      Mandatory sentences for first time offenders!

      Black men who eat donuts believe themselves equal to The Great White Man!(what Harry Asslinger probably would have claimed?)

      Don’t be a do”nut”..Please send donutions to DonutRehabInc@Sabetafeller.dickhead