Contact: Hilary Lyons 646-653-2871

CPR Celebrates Long-Fought Victory to Legalize Marijuana and Secure Restitution for Communities Hardest Hit by Marijuana Enforcement

Today, after years of organizing for the legalization of marijuana, New York State is poised to pass the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA). Once it becomes law, the MRTA will be one of the most ambitious legalization programs in the country. It includes comprehensive racial justice-oriented restitution for the communities—largely Black, Latinx, and other communities of color—who have been historically harmed by marijuana policing and New York’s drug laws.

“The MRTA is historic legislation and its passage is owed to the organizing power and leadership of Black, Latinx, and communities of color in their efforts to end racist policing and drug enforcement,” said Mark Winston Griffith (he/him) spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform and Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center. “The MRTA is a huge victory. If executed properly, this legislation will be a model for the rest of the country in how to center community reinvestment & racial equity, reduce racist excuses for police contact with many New Yorkers of color, and ensure that communities impacted by marijuana enforcement are those who benefit most from re-investments after legalization. Activists have been fighting for years to end the abusive enforcement of marijuana that has ensnared over one million New Yorkers in the criminal justice system. Now, reinvestment will be mandated to create opportunities for communities that have been most harmed by marijuana prohibition and criminalization from historically racist enforcement will be addressed.

"We’re grateful for the leadership of Drug Policy Alliance, State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, State Senator Liz Krueger and the many other organizations and elected officials who have fought relentlessly to get to this point. We’re looking forward to this bill becoming law and will fight alongside DPA and others for its efficient and equitable enactment.”


The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) is scheduled to be voted on today, March 30th, 2021 by both the New York State Senate and Assembly. The MRTA was one of the main components of the Safer New York Act legislative package of bills that CPR members and partners organized around for years. As part of the #SaferNYAct, CPR members and partners secured the passage of the Police STAT Act, the repeal of 50-a, and the strengthening of the special prosecutor’s office that investigates cases where police kill individuals, however the MRTA was not passed as a part of this package last June. Today's vote is one of the final steps in finally passing the MRTA. State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and State Senator Liz Krueger were the lead sponsors on the bill.



About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

Topics: Safer NY Act