Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Calls For Marijuana Legalization

Mike Sugerman/WCBS 880

Gillibrand Calls For Marijuana Legalization, Says Current Laws Are Harmful

April 22, 2018 - 4:27 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) is looking to legalize marijuana at the federal level.

On Sunday, Gillibrand consulted people who she said have been harmed the most by the current laws.

“This is one of the most important criminal justice issues of our time,” she said. “It is a moral issue, and it is an economic issue.”

As WCBS 880’s Mike Sugerman reported, Gillibrand is gathering stories of people who have been arrested, and of the consequences.

“They went into my pockets and reached for it themselves, and here is the famous ‘open to public view’ charge on marijuana,” one man said.

“I went through a two-year struggle of no money, four kids; you know, had a wife, which I lost throughout the process as well,” another man said.

The men were just two of the approximately 750,000 people arrested for marijuana possession in the past 30 years in New York City.

“Over 88 percent of that was of black and brown individuals,” said Jorge Vasquez Jr., who defends those charged with marijuana offenses at the group LatinoJustice.

“I believe our criminal justice system is broken,” added Gillibrand.

Despite pushback from the Trump administration, Gillibrand thinks marijuana could be legalized nationally in the next couple of years.