NEW YORK – Today, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) urged New York State to end marijuana prohibition and Legalize It Right by reminding New Yorkers about the urgent need to legalize with a lens on equity and justice for those most harmed by the war on drugs.
DPA partnered with creative agency Virtue and revealed Country Club Cannabis (CCC), a fake marijuana social club intended to underscore what could happen if new marijuana legalization policies do not prioritize equity in the industry and repairing the devastating harms of mass criminalization.
This past week, Country Club Cannabis appeared online, across social feeds, and in wild postings around New York City, peaking interest in some and sparking outrage in others.
CCC promoted itself with taglines such as “An Elite View of Cannabis” and “The Privilege to Indulge,” alongside imagery of luxurious landscapes and interiors. It offered privileges to members at “basic,” “premium” and “supreme” levels. Tellingly, CCC enforced a strict dress code and required applicants to have a college degree, good credit scores, and no criminal record.
But today, DPA revealed CCC was part of a provocative campaign – and the CCC hub flipped to an activist campaign page with the tagline Legalize It Right, educating visitors on the inequity of marijuana laws and inviting them to contact elected officials and join DPA’s campaign.
Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director, Drug Policy Alliance: “Legalization creates opportunities for places like Country Club Cannabis to exist, but the framework of legalization in New York should not reinforce a culture of exclusion and othering. A legalization model that creates exclusive spaces like CCC but does not reinvest in communities, does not create space for other people to participate meaningfully in the market, and does not clear records, should not be the legalization framework here in New York. This fight is about more than marijuana and about more than having the privilege to indulge. It’s about people and about investing in the dignity and humanity of all New Yorkers.”
This campaign highlights the chances for New York to be the first state in the US to legalize marijuana with an equitable program from day one. The hope is that the cringe-worthy notion of CCC compels people to spread awareness about the unique opportunity New York has right now to legalize the right way.
So what does it mean to Legalize It Right? The Drug Policy Alliance wants New York’s marijuana legislation to:
- Automatically clear criminal records and address the devastating impacts of prohibition on immigration and family law, housing and employment;
- Ensure an equitable and diverse industry by having an equity program from the outset, supporting small businesses and farmers over large corporations, and providing real banking and capital solutions; and
- Use revenue from marijuana legalization to reinvest in communities that have been most impacted by criminalization.
In an effort to educate curious visitors, DPA posted jarring facts on CCC’s platforms about how marijuana prohibition has perpetuated racial inequality, including:
- Marijuana use is roughly equal across racial and ethnic groups, yet Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people.
- A marijuana arrest creates a permanent criminal record that can easily be found by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies and banks.
- In the last 20 years alone, over 800,000 New Yorkers have been arrested and ensnared in the criminal justice system simply for marijuana possession.
To support DPA’s campaign and urge New York’s leaders to pass equitable marijuana legislation, SIGN THE PETITION HERE.