(Albany, NY) The Senate passed legislation that will address the racial disparities that are present in New York’s antiquated marijuana drug laws. New York’s existing marijuana laws disproportionately affect the African American and Latinx communities. This monumental legislation will decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and establish procedures for record expungements for both past and future convictions.
“Communities of color have borne the brunt of New York State’s marijuana drug laws. Our justice system directly reflects who we are as a society and that is why the Senate Majority is taking action to fix this broken system,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “This legislation is marking a momentous first step in addressing the racial disparities caused by the war on drugs. The Senate Majority continues to move forward on full legalization and I thank Senator Jamaal Bailey for his leadership on this issue.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “In New York State, people of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession. The misdemeanor charge for public view of marijuana possession gives those people convicted a criminal record that will follow them throughout their lives, potentially limiting their access to housing, access to education, affecting their ability to obtain employment, all leading to a potential inability to provide for their families. While this legislation falls short of the goal of legalization of adult-use cannabis, the ability to create a mechanism for expungement, both retroactively and forward-looking, is a step in the right direction in finally ending the heavy-handed war on drugs that has decimated communities of color.”
African-American and Latinx individuals are arrested at higher rates for misdemeanor marijuana possessions. In New York City, African-Americans are eight times more likely to be arrested on low-level marijuana charges and Latinx people are arrested at five times more. The racial disparities for arrests are wider for cities in Upstate, NY. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), African Americans living in Schenectady County are 74 times more likely to be arrested on a marijuana charge.
Decriminalization of Marijuana, S.6579A, will:
- Decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a violation punishable by a fine.
- Establish procedures for automatic record expungement both retroactively and for future convictions.
- Remove criminal penalties (since a violation is not a crime) for possession of any amount of marijuana under two ounce.
- Reduce the penalty to a $50 fine regardless of criminal history for possession under one ounce, and a $200 fine regardless of criminal history for possession between one and two ounces.
- Add marijuana to the definition of “smoking” under the Public Health Law so that smoking marijuana will be prohibited in any circumstances where smoking tobacco is prohibited by law
Anthony Beckford has always fought on the side of the people as a Community Advocate and Activist.
He will continue to do so as the next City Council Member of the 45th District.
Your endorsement of Anthony Beckford for the 45th City Council District is very much appreciated.
By adding your name to the list of those who endorse Anthony Beckford, you are joining the Movement for the People.
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Anthony Beckford is a Single Father, Disabled U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Community Advocate, Activist and son of Jamaican Immigrants. Over the years, he has worked alongside elected officials such as Jumaane Williams, Tish James, Brad Lander, as well as many Community Based Non-Profit and Grassroots Organizations in regards to Gun Violence, Mental Health, Housing, Public Safety, Immigration and other issues in the community. Beckford graduated from Midwood High School and attended Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY to major in Business Administration. Back in school, he is now a Junior taking Online classes through Southern New Hampshire University. He is pursuing his Bachelors in Psychology - Mental Health. Anthony Beckford has been a member of Christian Cultural Center (originally Christian Life Center) since he was 13 years old, and had the opportunity to receive guidance from Pastor A.R. Bernard and his wife Elder Karen regarding life, leadership, integrity and compassion.
Anthony Beckford is the Leader of the Brooklyn Sector of Copwatch Patrol Unit, which is a grassroots police accountability group that documents police interactions in the community as well as protests. The efforts of Copwatch has helped lead to many of the Criminal Justice Reforms we have today. He is also the President and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn and is the Lead Advocate to bring a year round curriculum of Black History into the the New York School Curriculum. His work and dedication has been consistent and his integrity is unmatched.
As a Community Advocate, Anthony Beckford has been one of the most consistent in the work that he does. He has fought for Affordable Housing, Immigration Rights, Women Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Workers Rights and Reproductive Rights, Disability Rights, Adequate funding and resources for our children's public schools as well as Police Accountability. He has been a strong supporter of G.E.N.D.A., providing Permanent Residency to all TPS and DACA Holders from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, Mexico, Venezuela, etc., a Woman's Right to Choose, Raise The Age, Fight for 15 and so much more. He helped the community shut down a racist Nail Salon in East Flatbush, where three Black Women were viciously beaten with broomsticks and acetone thrown in their faces to blind them. Beckford, was the initial Advocate who came to the aid of Ms. Ann Marie Washington, an Afro Caribbean Woman from Trinidad, who was the victim of a viscous hate crime attack at the Church Avenue B/Q Train Station that left her with a collapsed lung. Mr. Beckford has been advocating against the escalation of Hate Crimes against the Black, Muslim and Jewish Communities in the District and throughout New York City Non-Stop. Anthony Beckford, has been on the frontlines in various movements such as Families Belong Together, Black Lives Matter, New York Health Act and Housing Justice For All alongside organizations such as Flatbush Tenant Coalition, NYCC, Equality for Flatbush, Citizen Action of New York, HEAL NY, as well as Unions such as, DC 37, 1199SEIU, Teamsters and others.
Anthony Beckford was recently awarded citations by Borough President Eric Adams, for his outstanding services and support for local residents and Those in need; from Councilmember Mathieu Eugene for his efforts in Stopping Gun and Gang Violence in our Communities; and the Citation of Honor from Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for his exemplary steadfast dedication to public service as well as his unwavering commitment to humanity, servant leadership and invaluable efforts to enhance the quality of life.
Anthony Beckford is a member of various Progressive groups such as; DSA, Ernest Skinner Political Association (ESPA), Jews For Racial and Economical Justice (JFREJ), National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), Brooklyn Young Democrats, Brooklyn Young Democrats, New Kings Democrats, Muslim Democratic Club of New York, Working Families Party, NYPAN, BPAN, CBID, Central Brooklyn Political Action Association, Green Party Black Caucus, Lambda Independent Democrats, Brooklyn Progressive Alliance, Obama Foundation's "My Brother's Keeper" and many others.
Anthony Beckford is the representation that the communities of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park and Flatlands can always depend on to help fight for their rights and to continue to work for the best interest of the residents in the community. He is a true believer if bringing empowerment and Unity to the District, which is why he is known for his slogan, TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Anthony Beckford is your next 45th District City Council Member.
Anthony Beckford with City Councilman Jumaane Williams
Anthony Beckford with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
Anthony Beckford with NYS Attorney General Tish James
Anthony Beckford with Congresswoman Yvette Clark
Anthony Beckford with NYS Senator Kevin Parker
Anthony Beckford standing up against R.E.B.N.Y.
Anthony Beckford and Councilman Brad Lander
Anthony Beckford with Senator Julia Salazar
Anthony Beckford and Assemblyman Nick Perry
Anthony Beckford with Assemblyman Epstein, DC 37 Vice President / Local 372 President Shaun Francois & Assemblyman Ortiz