Stop Pot Arrests!
Just in time for '4/20', the NORML Foundation, the educational arm of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), will debutits second-ever digital ad this Tuesday on the CBS Super Screen in New York City's Times Square. The animated billboard advertisement highlights the dramatic increase in New York City's rate of marijuana possession arrests, which increased from fewer than 1,000 annually in 1992 to more than 46,000 in 2009. According to a 2008 study released by the New York Civil Liberties Union, City police have made an estimated 400,000 marijuana possession arrests over the past decade. The majority of citizens arrested for marijuana possession offenses are either African American or Hispanic. The ad concludes: "Legalize marijuana. Stop arrests." NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre called the City's marijuana-centric arrest practices 'shameful' and 'fiscally irresponsible.' He said: "Under state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are categorized as a violation, not a criminal offense. Yet New York City police officers are effectively circumventing state law by charging tens of thousands of young adults each year with unnecessary criminal misdemeanors by claiming that the marijuana was possessed 'in plain view.' This is a shameful and fiscally irresponsible policy that disproportionately targets minorities and does nothing to improve public safety. It is time for City law enforcement to stop wasting taxpayers' dollars and to abide by the state's longstanding decriminalization law." The NORML Foundation's new ad will appear eighteen times per day on the CBS's digital billboard, located on 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Approximately 1.5 million people walk by the billboard each day. In March, NORML launched a 15-second digital ad trumpeting the cost savings and tax revenue that could be generated by regulating and taxing adult marijuana use. That ad, available online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeH5HrG7IfM, will continue to air until the end of business today. NORML's new advertisement will air through May 2010. Founded in 1970, NORML is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots organization advocating on behalf of marijuana law reform. The NORML Foundation was founded in 1997 to support public education, research, stake holder organizing and impact litigation. In 2009, NORML Foundation launched the first-ever nationwide television ad campaign calling for the regulation of marijuana by adults.