Published On: Thu, Oct 6th, 2016

American Civil Liberties Union and Yes on 4 Campaign hold press conference for release of new report detailing marijuana possession arrests in Massachusetts

Contact: Jim Borghesani, Communications Director

617-833-9327, [email protected]                  

Attorney Shanel Lindsay speaks about her arrest for less than an ounce of marijuana; retired Roxbury District Court Judge Leslie Harris and Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson will also attend

 BOSTON—The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the Yes on 4 Campaign held a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday, October 6 outside Roxbury District Court to release an ACLU report detailing statewide marijuana possession arrest statistics and patterns since decriminalization went into effect in 2009.

ACLU Racial Justice Director Rahsaan Hall said the report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White: A Massachusetts Update,” will counter the claims of Yes on 4 opponents that social injustices ceased with the passage of decriminalization.

“Racial disparities are a disturbing feature of our current marijuana policy.  Black people are arrested for marijuana possession at 10 times the rate of white people in some counties – despite the fact Black people and white people use marijuana at the same rate.  Taxing and regulating marijuana is an important step towards reducing the harm that current policies cause to people of color, particularly Black people, and it will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that can be reinvested in our communities,” Hall said.

Yes on 4 campaign manager Will Luzier pointed out that the question’s opponents will be holding a high-dollar fundraiser in another section of Boston at the same time that Hall, City Councilor Tito Jackson, retired Roxbury District Court Judge Leslie Harris and others will be addressing the true impacts of the war on marijuana.

“This is a striking juxtaposition. Across town, high-dollar contributors will hear tired prohibition arguments and will hear nothing about the continued war-on-marijuana injustices. Meanwhile, folks with true experience will be giving first-hand testimony about what really happens in Roxbury and other neighborhoods throughout the state,” Luzier said.

Newton resident Shanel Lindsay, an attorney, will talk about her traumatic 2010 arrest for less than an ounce of marijuana. Other speakers will address their direct experiences with marijuana enforcement since decriminalization.

WHAT:  The ACLU of Massachusetts and the Yes on 4 Campaign joint press conference to release ACLU marijuana law enforcement report. Attendees will talk about their experiences with marijuana arrests and enforcement.

WHERE:  Plaza in front of Roxbury District Court, 85 Warren Street, Boston.

WHEN:  11 a.m. on Thursday, October 6.

WHO:  Rahsaan Hall, ACLU racial justice director and former Assistant District Attorney

Retired Roxbury District Court Judge Leslie Harris

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson

Horace Small, Union of Minority Neighborhoods

Carl Williams, ACLU attorney and former public defender

Whitney Taylor, ACLU, member of Yes on 4 drafting committee

Shanel Lindsay, Newton attorney and member of Yes on 4 drafting committee

Shaleen Title, member of Yes on 4 drafting committee

Kim Napoli, Yes on 4 outreach director