Students investigate marijuana legalization!

A fundraising campaign for The Center for Urban Pedagogy

How does legalization impact communities like Red Hook, Brooklyn where inequitable enforcement of drug laws has led to mass incarceration?

Why is this issue important?

In Spring 2021, New York State passed a law legalizing marijuana possession and distribution. Communities like Red Hook, where inequitable enforcement of drug laws has led to mass incarceration, are concerned about continuing to be penalized even after legalization. They are also concerned about losing out on the financial benefits that the law's backers tout. How can the harm be repaired of communities targeted by marijuana criminalization and make sure they are involved in how the law is applied?

What is the project?

This summer CUP is partnering with students from the Red Hook Community Justice Center again, to take young people out of the classroom and into the city to ask — and answer — tough social justice questions about how the city works. 

Young people will explore this topic while learning how to be investigative journalists, interviewing a broad range of stakeholders — from elected officials to criminal justice advocates to communities impacted by marijuana criminalization. They will learn technical skills and work with a CUP Teaching Artist to understand the details of the new laws governing marijuana. Together they will create a documentary video that shares what they've learned with the public. Most importantly, young people will explore how the places where they live are products of decision-making, and how they can talk to decision-makers themselves and hold them accountable.

Students will present their work to the public at the end of the project, with a screening of their documentary and discussion on the impacts of marijuana legalization. They will also present their work in peer to peer presentations to other young people in Red Hook and other impacted neighborhoods. 

Key Dates:
Fundraising Campaign: June 14th-June 28th
CUP and Red Hook Community Justice Center kick off the project: July 5th
Project Completion: August 19th
Community Presentations: Week of September 6th


What will I receive for participating?
  • Listing on the CUP website and in the CUP email newsletter
  • Regular updates on the project with messages from the involved young people on what they are up to in the program
  • An invitation to the final public presentation of the project where you can meet the young people
  • If you donate more than $500, you will also be listed as a supporter on the final project

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About the Organization

The Center for Urban Pedagogy

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a nonprofit that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement, particularly among historically marginalized communities. We do that by collaborating with communities to create accessible, visual explanations of policies and processes so that individuals use these tools to claim their rights, advocate for their needs, and fight for social justice in their communities.