A Plea to Albany: Repeal the Marijuana Laws

 Holly Pickett | The New York Times

Holly Pickett | The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “De Blasio Directs Police Dept. to End ‘Unnecessary’ Marijuana Arrests” (news article, May 16):

News from the New York City Police Department and district attorneys about overhauling how they enforce and prosecute marijuana arrests is heartening but a half-step to what is truly needed.

The ultimate solution — full repeal of existing marijuana laws — falls on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature. Anything less will continue to subject New Yorkers to biased enforcement and needless loss of access to student loans, subsidized housing and other public benefits, and, for noncitizens, the risk of detention and deportation.

Decriminalization also will not generate the economic gains that could be reinvested back into the same communities that shouldered the brunt of overzealous marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs for decades.

Legalization has this potential, as demonstrated in various states throughout the country that have scrapped these draconian laws.

We hope that New York’s leaders in government will start to coalesce around the only true solution that will finally right this pressing public problem.

ANTHONY POSADA, NEW YORK

The writer is supervising attorney for the Community Justice Unit of the Legal Aid Society.