New York is THIS Close To Legalizing Medical Weed, But NYC is Still the Pot Arrest Capital of the U.S.

"These marijuana arrests are human rights violations. These are violations of the right to autonomy and the right to privacy," Brian Root of Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. His organization followed almost 30,000 people arrested in 2003 and 2004 for eight years, and found only 3 percent were later convicted of a violent crime.

Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance said the city not only needs to end simple possession arrests entirely, it needs to reflect on the impact these arrests have had on the city's residents. "If we say these arrests need to end--as Mayor de Blasio said when he ran--then we need to begin asking questions. What do we do about the fact that we know that hundreds of thousands of people were unlawfully arrested. What are we going to do for those people who have a permanent arrest record that will follow them around for the rest of their lives?"

It's a question that will be asked again if New York legalizes, as it appears poised to do, marijuana for medicinal uses. The Compassionate Care Act still needs to go before New York State Senate's finance committee before it faces its final test--a full vote on the senate floor.

Finance committee chair, John DeFrancisco, told the Syracuse Post-Standard he wants to raise the bill in his committee, he's just waiting on the senate leadership's go ahead. "If the two leaders want it on the agenda, it will go on the agenda," DeFrancisco said. Senate co-leaders Jeff Klein (a co-sponsor of the bill) and Dean Skelos only have until June 19, when the legislative session ends, to bring the bill up.

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