New York State Decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana Use
New York state this week decriminalized recreational marijuana use, Reuters reports. Possession of small amounts of marijuana will be punished with fines instead of jail time.
Two human rights groups are calling for decriminalizing the possession and personal use of all illicit drugs, according to the Associated Press.
In a new report, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch say the enforcement of drug laws has disproportionately impacted communities of color and the poor.
“Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime,” the report states. “More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year. And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.”
On any given day, at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, the report notes.