Report Highlights Alarming Racial Disparities In Buffalo’s Cannabis Arrests

Clifford Robinson is very proud to say that he was born and raised in Buffalo, New York (Go Bills!). The same is true for other members of the Uncle Cliffy team, many of which still reside in Buffalo. Cliff and the Uncle Cliffy team have witnessed firsthand the failures of cannabis prohibition in Buffalo, which is why we fight so hard to free the plant there, and everywhere else that prohibition exists.

Below is information about a report highlighting the alarming racial disparities in cannabis arrests in Buffalo, New York. A press conference is planned for next week, details of which can also be found below, via a press release from the Drug Policy Alliance and Start Smart New York:

On November 14th, the Partnership for the Public Good will release a report highlighting marijuana prohibition enforcement practices in Buffalo and their disparate impact on communities of color.

The report, Advancing Racial Equity and Public Health: Smarter Marijuana Laws in Western New York, shows that marijuana prohibition in Buffalo has been largely enforced in communities of color and that the harms of prohibition—including increased barriers to higher education, housing, and employment opportunities—have been born almost entirely by Buffalo’s Black and Latino residents.

The report shows that from 2012 to 2016, people of color represented 76% of the arrests for low-level marijuana possession, despite being 18% of Erie County’s residents. In the city of Buffalo, Black people—especially youth—are 7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people. These extreme disparities in arrests exist despite government data showing that young white people use marijuana at higher rates.

This event will also will highlight legislative solutions to end the marijuana arrest crusade. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which was reintroduced in June 2016 by Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, would legalize marijuana for adult use in New York and reclassify or seal records for prior marijuana arrests. Advocates across the city of Buffalo are joining Assm. Peoples-Stokes in calling for an end to marijuana prohibition and signing on to the Start SMART NY campaign to tax and regulate marijuana.

This report includes extensive analyses of marijuana arrest data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

What:  Press Conference and Panel Discussion for release of Advancing Racial Equity and Public Health: Smarter Marijuana Laws in Western New York report

When:             Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 at 9 a.m.

Where:            Overflow Cafeteria at ECMC, 462 Grider St, Buffalo, NY 14215


  • Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes
  • Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Franchelle Parker, Open Buffalo
  • Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Partnership for the Public Good
  • John Washington, PUSH Buffalo
  • Rebecca Town, Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo
  • Individuals directly impacted by marijuana prohibition