State lawmakers on Wednesday announced legislation aimed at ending arrests for marijuana possession that they say are racist and unlawful.
They were joined by other elected officials and community groups during a rally in front of City Hall.
The Fairness and Equity Act would decriminalize both public and private displays of the drug.
It would also create a process for those arrested for carrying small amounts of marijuana to clear their records, and fix the part of the current law that charges people who share marijuana as drug dealers.
"It's a basic issue of fairness," said state Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district covers parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. "You shouldn't be able to predict who will be charged with a crime based on the color of their skin. That is something that this state, this city and this country turned against a long time ago and should not have anywhere today."
"Let's make the laws right. Let's make them just. Let's make them equitable. Let's make them rational," said Assemblyman Karim Camara of Brooklyn. "Let's stop this asinine foolishness of arresting these young individuals with small amounts of marijuana."
Advocates for the bill said police made nearly 30,000 arrests for marijuana possession in the city last year alone.
They said about 86 percent of those arrested were black and Hispanic.