Petition asks Buffalo Police to stop enforcing marijuana laws

Posted at 9:54 AM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 18:23:38-05

Open Buffalo, a local community organization, has launched a petition calling Buffalo Police to "de-prioritize arrests for low-level marijuana possession."

The group is specifically asking Mayor Brown to classify low-level marijuana possession as the city's lowest law enforcement policy (LLEP). 

The petition does not state what they constitute as low-level possession, but New York State laws say possession of more then 2 ounces qualifies as a misdemeanor.

Penalties for that misdemeanor include jail time anywhere from three months to a year in jail with a $500 to $1,000 fine.

According to Open Buffalo:

New York state decriminalized possessing small amounts of marijuana 40 years ago, but a disproportionate number of black people continue to be arrested in Buffalo every year. The unequal enforcement is a result of the "war on drugs." Exposure to the criminal justice system has severe impacts on employment, mental health, family stability and financial security.

Mayor Byron Brown has the ability to make marijuana the LLEP, or "lowest level enforcement priority" for the Buffalo Police Department. This means that instead of arresting black and brown folks for marijuana, police will be able to focus on building positive, trusting relationships with communities of color, making us all safer.

The organization's campaign currently has 578 signatures. View the petition here