The brief analyzes the last five years of data on arrests for low-level marijuana possession within the City of Buffalo and across Erie County, obtained from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. It explores the consistent racial disparities in arrests from 2012-2016, the drivers of these trends, and the social and economic impacts of unequal enforcement on communities of color.
This policy brief was drafted by Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Deputy Director at Partnership for the Public Good, in collaboration with Open Buffalo and the New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance. The brief concludes by considering the potential positive impacts of marijuana legalization, including racial justice, improved public safety, and economic benefits for previously targeted communities. The research and analysis in this brief inform PPG’s work with Open Buffalo’s Justice and Opportunity Coalition, which will work toward the adoption of the New York State Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in 2018.