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BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES CALLS FOR MARIJUANA JUSTICE IN LIGHT OF GOVERNOR CUOMO’S LEGALIZATION PROPOSAL

January 6, 2021

 

Contact: Daniel Ball, dball@bds.org

 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

 

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES CALLS FOR MARIJUANA JUSTICE IN LIGHT OF GOVERNOR CUOMO’S LEGALIZATION PROPOSAL

 

(BROOKLYN, NY) – Jackie Gosdigian, Senior Policy Counsel of Brooklyn Defender Services released the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s announcement of a plan to legalize marijuana in 2021 executive budget:

“With today’s announcement, Governor Cuomo has recognized that now is the time for New York to legalize marijuana. However, it is imperative that marijuana is not simply legalized but legalized the right way. That means passing a progessive legalization bill that is rooted in racial and economic justice, and focuses not only on increasing revenue and jobs, but also on giving back to the communities that have long suffered the impacts of marijuana prohibition and racially biased enforcement. The harms of prohibition persist even with decriminalization and underscore the need for legalization that promotes marijuana justice. Law enforcement continues to use marijuana as a pretext to stop and harass people of color and the family regulation system continues to use marijuana to separate Black and Latinx children from their families and hold them in foster care longer. To undo past harms and create a more equitable New York, Governor Cuomo and state legislators must center communities who have borne the brunt of the criminalization of marijuana in its legalization effort.”

BACKGROUND: Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) is a public defender organization serving tens of thousands of Brooklyn residents each year since 1996. Our mission is to provide high-quality and client-centered criminal, family, and immigration legal representation, as well as civil legal services, social work support and advocacy for people who cannot afford an attorney. 

 Brooklyn Defender Services is a member of Start SMART NY– Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade coalition – the campaign dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition in New York. The campaign believes that it is time to stop the ineffective, racially biased, and unjust enforcement of marijuana prohibition and to create a new, well-regulated, and inclusive marijuana industry that is rooted in racial and economic justice.