Tag Archives: marijuana

Mayor of D.C. Supports Removing Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray

Mayor Vincent Gray

On Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray stated that he supports decriminalizing marijuana, or removing criminal penalties associated with possession of under one ounce. Currently, those caught with less than one ounce of marijuana in D.C. can be sent to jail for up to six months and fined up to $1,000, and evidence suggests that the laws have had harsh consequences for D.C. residents. According to a study published in June by the ACLU, black residents in D.C. are eight times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white neighbors.

Mayor Gray’s announcement gives more weight to a proposal made by Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) that seeks to remove the harsh criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession and replace them with a civil fine of $100. The proposed bill has the support of a supermajority on the council, and two hearings have been scheduled this week to discuss the measure further.

MPP NASCAR Ad Pulled

MPP’s video ad that began airing Friday on a jumbotron outside the NASCAR Brickyard 400 was pulled later that afternoon by the media company that owns the video screen. Grazie Media, which had solicited the ad from MPP, approved its content, and accepted payment for it, reportedly came under fire from marijuana prohibitionist organizations such as Save Our Society From Drugs, which claimed the ad’s message that marijuana is safer than alcohol was false and misleading.

In a statement, MPP’s Mason Tvert said:

We find it odd that this company is willing to run ads at an alcohol-fueled event, yet unwilling to run an ad that simply highlights the ways in which marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. This is the exact type of hypocrisy that motivated us to run this ad. We wanted to make people think about the absurdity of laws that allow adults to use alcohol but punish them for making the safer choice to use marijuana instead, if that is what they prefer.

Despite only airing at the race for a few hours, the ad generated a wealth of national and local media coverage, including two segments on CNN and one on CNBC. The video has already received more than 550,000 views on YouTube.

MPP Airs Ad at Brickyard 400 NASCAR Race

NASCAR fans attending this weekend’s Brickyard 400 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be greeted by an MPP video ad in support of making marijuana legal for adults. It is scheduled to air dozens of times on a jumbotron outside the entrance of the speedway, which will be “the epicenter of American stock car racing and North American sports car racing” this weekend, according to the event’s website.

The ad, which is already getting national media attention, is reminiscent of a beer commercial and highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol by characterizing marijuana as a “new ‘beer’” that is less harmful to the consumer and to society.

Watch the ad below:

MPP released the following statement from communications director Mason Tvert:

“Our goal is to make this weekend’s event as educational as it will be enjoyable. We simply want those adults who will be enjoying a beer or two at the race this weekend to think about the fact that marijuana is an objectively less harmful product.”

“Marijuana is less toxic and less addictive than alcohol, and it is far less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior. We hope racing fans who still think marijuana should be illegal will question the logic of punishing adults for using a safer substance than those produced by sponsors of NASCAR events and racing teams.”

National ACLU Report Highlights Racial Disparity in Marijuana Arrests

ACLU Arrest DataDespite the fact that black and white Americans use marijuana in comparable numbers, a new analysis of federal data performed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found that blacks were nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2010. The report is the most comprehensive national examination of marijuana arrests by race and by county.

According to the ACLU:

“The aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws needlessly ensnares hundreds of thousands of people into the criminal justice system and wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars. What’s more, it is carried out with staggering racial bias. Despite being a priority for police departments nationwide, the War on Marijuana has failed to reduce marijuana use and availability and diverted resources that could be better invested in our communities.”

The statistics in Washington, D.C. and Maryland were particularly staggering. The former had the country’s highest arrest rate for marijuana possession arrests – more than three times the national average – and the latter had the fourth highest rate. Blacks accounted for 91% of possession arrests in D.C. and were more than eight times more likely to be arrested than whites. In Maryland, blacks accounted for 58% of possession arrests and were more than three times more likely to be arrested than whites. In Baltimore City, they were more than five-and-half times likely to be arrested than whites.

The disproportionality of marijuana enforcement is just one more pebble on the mountain of evidence that exposes our nation’s marijuana policy for what it is: broken.