GANJA GRANNY ARRIVED ON A CLOUD OF SNOKE 5/5/12
GANJA GRANNY sez NYC Cannabis March 2012 was an incredible almost smokeless event .Most incredible was the fact…,for the first time in years… no one was arrested. 0 ARRESTS! Gotta give thanks to the NYPD..and of course everyone who did nothing that could be considered counter productive. Ganja Granny was honored with the title of Grand Marshal. It was a first for me and I have to admit… I loved it! I was informed of this a few nights before….. Also… found out a few days before, there was a hat to wear????? I was told I was going to love the hat!rand . I was extremely reluctant and tried not to show my unwillingness to don this Grand Marshal Hat….. I had not worn a hat since I was in my early 20’s. It was an era where women wore pearls, little white gloves and a hat to the super market and barely whispered about cannabis, if at all?????.….. And now…. . Here I am ….more than 50 yrs later and my family of organizers want me to wear a hat especially made for he Grand Marshal. How could I refuse?????. They were all so excited and their attempts to entice me, included the fact….” CARLOS also made hats for LADY GAGA!” I instantly had visions of Pork chops and Salami hanging off my head and some fool, standing near me, stoned out of their tree… getting the munchies????…..I wore the hat! This fabulous hat was almost a bigger hit than the entire event.. The hat took on a life of its own.. Only Redman could rival this hat and he did.. He gave the crowd exactly what they wanted.. The people loved him…….. All the speakers were wonderful.They were real troupers. In general. it was a fantastic day except for the few unexpected delays here and there.. Moms UNITED marched, leading the parade with their banner. Gay Activists and Patients marched with the Medical Marijuana Banner.. Joyce Rivera was one of the speakers, representing Moms. She was as dynamic as she is beautiful. inside and out. There was a full turnout of happy pot supporters, despite the fact it was also Cinco de Mayo and DPA had scheduled a number of workshop/meetings for the exact time of our event??????? I had a house full with the most gracious Mema Gop from Cincinnati, Kc Kush from Cannabis TV Village in Columbus and his lovely daughter, CeCE. Kc Volunteered to film the entire event.. His daughter, CE CE was also given an opportunity to speak about Baby Cash and the Cash Foundation. Bruce Dunn, Nam Vet, patient and Medical Marijuana Activist, traveled 4 hrs or more on a bus to get to NYC. He was worn out by the time he was scheduled to speak but still managed to make his point. Cindy Day came with her special brand of energy and the special guy in her life, patient advocate, Tim Gruss. .Cindy is always the first to lend a helping hand and was in full bloom. Many of my personal friends and family members… came to show support. Thanks, especially to Tony, Dr. Rob and East Side Richie.. My friend, Richard Singleton drove in from Tennessee.. My grandson, George took a slew of wonderful still photos . However, it is really impossible to match Paul DeRienzo of “LET THEM TALK” and his masterful touch when it comes to lining up a shot…….As Grand Marshal, I arrived on a CLOUD OF SMOKE…. YOU EXPECTED A GOLDEN CHARIOT?????. When I was up to speak, I was totally out of it.. I was inflicted with a sudden case of cotton mouth.. Plus, our wonderful Hosts Joey Gay and John Murdock stole my main line “COME OUT OF YOUR SMOKE FILLED CLOSETS.”… and not being the star, they are… was thrown off course…. . And I thought BOB HOPE was bad in my day????? They were the crazy glue we needed. Jon Savoy, also was a supper star filling in .. here and there. Thet lovely stage manager cannot be left out Megan is as talented as she is strong…. Can’t imagine what the cops… who led us to Union Square Park from Washington Square Park must of felt?????. They had to a be flying high too. WE were all riding the same cloud!… The crowd was wonderful.. I cannot brag enough about this event, because for many years it was a disaster.. We did the best we could to upgrade our image, make it more fun, while getting a serious message out there. The late activist, patient, Barbara Jackson’s daughters, Doris and Debra came to show support and keep their Mom’s legacy alive. While all this was going on,….. I heard from Ken Unger and found he will return to court in June.. I will keep you updated on the status of his case. We are on pins and needles in NYS waiting and hoping we will get Medical Cannabis.. Connecticut became the 17th state to pass Medical Marijuana on Friday May 4th…As I write this.. I wonder how many people who did not respond to conventional medicine died,while waiting for Medical Marijuana in their home states.. I recall my own personal situation and at the time, it was not a good one.. All the young people I worked with are like a band of Angels. I cannot thank them enough for allowing me to be one of the organizers and speaker………. I always feel like I may be just a token? You know… A Token Granny! Dominic Chang who is the head of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy blew them away, along with his father, Doctor Paul Chang. Joanne Naughton, representing LEAP… is a retired Lt. undercover narc from NYPD , a professor of drug law and a criminal defense lawyer.. She looks like a model and is a most interesting speaker. The crowd was glued to her every word.. Dr. Sunil Aggrawall from NYU mesmerized the crowd with his articulate delivery. Ken Wolski, from New Jersey who is running for Senator was kind enough to attend and was one of our guest speakers. Nate Riley,, showed up looking spiffy and his speech was even spiffier. He is a former press officer to the NYS Attorney General, legislative assistant to State Senator Joe Galiber who sponsored a bill to legalize all drugs, and a columnist for Gay City News, a weekly newspaper for the gay and lesbian community………. Another, delightful HIGH for me and everyone there… was not only the rousing speech given by George Martinez from Brooklyn who is also running for Congress. He followed his speech with a deft hip hop performance, doing a number from his “Occupy This Album” to be released on May 15th. His fun, clean lyrics related to the issues that we are all faced with.The guy is a star… no question about it! There were so many people who contributed in so many ways and I can only give more thanks on behalf of all the organizers, including myself to everyone who was involved.I am certain I have left people out but not intentionally. We love you all forgiving with genuine support for NY and for our event. We will continue the fight until it is all a distant memory. I doubt anyone will ever forget the fight we have put up! We intend to come back in 2013, Bigger and Better..Our first attempt has been a learning experience and it was as good as we ALL made it to be… It was a huge success when compared to recent years…. It will continue to evolve until Legalization is enjoyed by all..In the meantime, get ready for the Gay Pride Parade.. the end of June….Remember! it ain’t over … til its over…. Om another toke,. President Obama finally endorsed same sex marriage. WE just gotta be next! We cannot rest on our laurels just yet.. This is no time for a nap or blowing smoke rings.. Ganja Granny sez get busy with those emails, letters, phone calls to our Government Officials on all levels . Let them know anyway you can.. we want what we want and we will not back off.. Saturday, May 12 th is the day to be in NYC at Foley Square where together with all organizations and supporters we will protest the Stop n’ Frisk Arrests. I have included ‘ DPA’s press release below…Ganja Granny sez Thank you again…Before Granny goes to rock and chill, I have to say .. Wear your Green Ribbon proudly! Stay focused and Stay Blazed!
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Drug Policy Alliance
For Immediate Release
Gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264
Kyung Ji Rhee 347-712-0259
Jeremy Saunders 917-676-8041
May 9, 2012
A Tale of Two Cities:
Elected Officials, Community Members March and Rally at 1 Police Plaza to End Illegal Arrests and Racist Police Practices, Saturday at Noon
Under Bloomberg, Close to 400,000 Mostly Young Black and Latinos Arrested on Low-Level Marijuana Charges, Despite Marijuana Being Decriminalized and Whites Using Marijuana at Higher Rates
Illegal Searches and Manufactured Misdemeanor Arrests Make Marijuana Arrests #1 Offense in NYC and Make Up 15% of All Arrests; Cost to Taxpayers – $75 Million
New York — Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly are writing a Tale of Two Cities. One New York City is for white people, where marijuana possession was decriminalized in 1977, people are seldom stopped and frisked, and mother’s do not fear that their teenagers will be rounded up by the police. The other New York City is for people of color, where hundreds of thousands of people are stopped even though most were entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, tens of thousands are thousands are illegally searched, falsely charged, arrested and incarcerated for marijuana possession (even though it’s not a crime in New York), and mothers are afraid that the police may unlawfully arrest their young people.
On Saturday, May 12th at noon, community members, elected officials, and New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety will march to 1 Police Plaza to demand equity and fairness in our city and an end to illegal, racially biased and costly marijuana arrests. In 2011, there were 50,684 marijuana possession arrests, the top arrest and second highest in New York City history, despite Police Commissioner Kelly’s directive last year to end such arrests. Even though young whites use marijuana at higher rates, nearly 85 percent of the people arrested for marijuana possession are Black and Latino, and most are under 30 years old. These arrests cost taxpayers over $75 million a year, even while Bloomberg proposes cuts to public libraries, fire stations and after-school programs.
What: A Tale of Two Cities: March and Rally to End Illegal Arrests and Biased Police Practices
When: Saturday May 12th, 2012, AT NOON
Where: Foley Square between Lafayette St. and Center Street, Take the 4, 5 or 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge
Who: Scheduled to attend: State Senator Eric Adams; Assembly Members Hakeem Jeffries and Karim Camara; NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; City Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Oliver Koppell, Jumaane Williams, Letitia James, Ydanis Rodriguez, Annabel Palma, Brad Lander, Steven Levin; Rev. Dr. Divine Pryor of Greater Works Deliverance Church; Kevin Powell – Activist, Writer, and Weekly Blogger for The Guardian; Robin Steinberg, executive director, Bronx Defenders; Sandy Bernabei, Anti-Racist Alliance;
Endorsed by:Vocal-NY, Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, Drug Policy Alliance, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, Mothers Against Racist Policing, Bronx Defenders, BK Nation, LEAP, Resistance in Brooklyn, Make the Road NY (list in formation)
New York State decriminalized private possession of small amounts of marijuana in 1977, in order to preserve scarce police resources and prevent needless criminalization. But the NYPD has made marijuana possession arrests their number one priority. Research finds that most people arrested for marijuana possession did not have it in public view (a misdemeanor), but had a small amount in a pocket and were either tricked by the police to reveal it or were illegally searched. These individuals are then falsely charged for possessing marijuana in public view, and arrested. In the last five years under Bloomberg, the NYPD made more marijuana arrests than in the twenty-four years under Mayors Giuliani, Dinkins and Koch combined. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in Albany to address the issue, along with a resolution in NY City Council.
Join New Yorkers to demand an end to the Tale of Two Cities – and call for fairness, equity, and justice!
The Human Cost of ‘Zero Tolerance’
By BRENT STAPLES
April 28, 2012
There is no proof that the zero-tolerance policing adopted by New York and other cities in the 1990’s had anything to do with the decline in violent crime across the nation. Crime also dropped in jurisdictions that did not use the approach.
Millions of people have been arrested under the policy for minor violations, like possession of small amounts of marijuana. And one thing is beyond dispute: this arrest-first policy has filled the courts to bursting with first-time, minor offenders who do not belong there and wreaked havoc with people’s lives. Even when cases are dismissed, people can be shadowed for years by error-ridden criminal records.
The human toll is evident in New York City, where last year 50,000 people — one every 10 minutes — were arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The city downplays the significance, saying these cases are typically dismissed and the record sealed if the person stays out of trouble for a year. But getting tangled in the court system is harrowing. And the record-keeping can be unreliable and far more porous than the city suggests.
An analysis by the Legal Action Center, which assists 2,500 people with criminal records each year, has found that nearly half of its clients’ rap sheets have errors. Defense lawyers say that too often the courts and police fail to report to the state about dismissals and other outcomes favorable to defendants.
As for “sealed” records, background-screening companies working for private employers can harvest data at the time of an arrest and there is no guarantee that they will update to reflect dismissals — or expunge the information when records are sealed by the courts. While it is illegal to exclude people from jobs based solely on arrest or convictions, unless there is a compelling business reason for doing so, many employers quickly write off applicants who are flagged in these databases.
New York City drove up its marijuana arrests — from just under 1,500 in 1980 to more than 50,000 a year today — despite the fact that the State Legislature in 1977 decriminalized possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, making it a violation, roughly akin to a traffic ticket. The problem is that the Legislature made public display of any amount of marijuana a misdemeanor, which can lead to arrest, jail and a record that follows the person for years. And New York’s police have been repeatedly accused of arresting people for possession after forcing them to show “in public” the small amounts they had. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly tacitly admitted this practice last year, directing officers to make an arrest only when the drug really was in view.
Critics say the fact that 87 percent of those arrested are black or Hispanic suggests that the police are deliberately singling out minority citizens for arrests that push some of them permanently to the very margins of society.
An arrest, even without a conviction, can swiftly unleash disastrous personal consequences. Consider the 2011 case of a 26-year-old single mother from Brooklyn whose lawyers say she was arrested after the police forced her to reveal a small packet of marijuana hidden in her purse. The judge said the charges would be dismissed if she stayed out of trouble for a year. A week later, the woman had been fired from her job as a janitor with the New York City Housing Authority. She has not been rehired.
The city’s Housing Authority convenes a termination hearing when a tenant is arrested. The authority says no one is evicted for low-level marijuana arrests “in and of themselves.” But Steven Banks, attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society, which represents 30,000 people in minor marijuana arrests a year, says these cases often end with the leaseholder ejecting the person arrested — perhaps a son or grandson — to avoid eviction. People convicted of some misdemeanors cannot apply for public housing for three years; those convicted of violations are ineligible for two years.
Young parents have faced neglect accusations in family court after marijuana arrests, even if they are not ultimately charged with any crime. In a case described in The Times, a woman’s son and niece were removed from her home by child welfare workers after police found about a third of an ounce of marijuana — below the threshold for a misdemeanor — in a boyfriend’s backpack in her Bronx apartment. The district attorney declined to prosecute, but the children spent time in foster care, and her niece was not returned for over a year.
New York City’s overly zealous marijuana arrests, coupled with the unreliability and porousness of record-keeping, damage the lives of tens of thousands of people a year. The Legislature needs to fix this. It must drop the public-display distinction for marijuana, which invites far too many abuses. It should also press law enforcement officials and the court system to make sure that criminal records are more accurate to start with and that people who are victimized by errors have a plausible way of getting them corrected.
Employers and government agencies also have a responsibility here. They must not rush to their own judgment about minor offenders.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg needs to recognize that zero-tolerance policing is not the panacea his Police Department seems to think it is. The police need to spend more time tracking down serious crime and less on minor offenses. There is nothing minor about a record that can follow people for the rest of their lives.