The Truth is Powerful

NY’s new weed law: Same old bias?

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/jirkaejc

New York State has finally taken the long overdue step of decriminalizing marijuana.

One result of the new legislation will be the expunging of criminal records. While this won’t make those previously convicted “whole,” it will go a long way to correcting a wrong and will open opportunities for them.

The record is clear: Black and brown communities have suffered unjustly under a law that treated people of color in discriminatory ways — and marijuana laws have been prime examples. Couple the unequal application of the law by some members of law enforcement with the impact that systems of cash bail have on those with little financial means — inordinately Black and brown communities — and a shameful picture of racism in our criminal justice system is clear.

Righting this wrong, advocates claim, is an act of social justice. True, but what wrong has actually been addressed? Certainly, decriminalizing marijuana is an act of social justice. Advocates demanded that New York change the law and expunge criminal records — that has been met. Richard C. Iannuzzi But the new law goes further. It will ensure that entrepreneurs will reap huge profits on the sale of marijuana and related merchandise, and […]

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