By Jodie Gummow
John Liu, New York City’s chief accountant who is also running for mayor, is calling for legalizing medicinal marijuana and allowing for adults to possess up to an ounce of pot which would pump more than $400 million into the city’s coffers:
“It is economically and socially just to tax it. We can eliminate some of the criminal nature that surrounds the drug and obtain revenue from it,” he told AP.
The announcement comes days after Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin condemned the city’s police department’s use of stop and frisk as racially-biased – after 600,000 unlawful arrests for marijuana possession since 1997 were documented.
Liu’s report outlines the problems associated with marijuana arrests in New York City — including racial disparities and the financial and human costs of prohibition, particularly the impact that a permanent criminal record has on young people.
While the majority of people who enter the criminal justice system for possession of marijuana rarely go on to commit violent crimes, the arrests have extensive adverse consequences for those arrested, including lessening their opportunities for employment, education, housing, and loans, according to a Drug Policy Alliance.