Albany, NY – In response to state legislators reaching a deal to legalize recreational marijuana in New York that closely resembles the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), Stanley Fritz, Citizen Action Political Director, released the following statement:

“This landmark legislation to legalize marijuana is not only about ending prohibition or getting New York out of a budget crisis. This historic moment is about shattering racist narratives and laws that have led to disparate impacts in BIPOC communities. It’s been a long time coming – literally decades of tireless, movement building and grassroots organizing by directly impacted people. The marijuana legalization agreement is about so much more than economic benefits to the state. It is about bringing justice to communities that have been disproportionately harmed by prohibition, over-policing, criminalization, and mass incarceration.

“We pushed back against every blockage the Governor put in our way to make sure we reached a deal centering Black and Latinx communities. Under the agreement reached, the smell of marijuana can no longer be used as probable cause for stop and searches of Black and Latinx New Yorkers. We proved that marijuana legalization can be done the right way, and now, New York is leading the way. Make no mistake – this is the work of everyday New Yorkers. This legislation is the most progressive in the nation, with automatic expungement, home growing provisions, and 50% of the licenses reserved for marginalized communities and small-scale farmers.”