A major coalition of advocacy groups is launching an effort to end New York's arrests of individuals for possessing small amounts of marijuana in public. The campaign comes on the heels of an announcement by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department that they will support an effort by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested as a result of police stops.

On Tuesday, the coalition, which includes ColorOfChange, Drug Policy Alliance, VOCAL-NY and the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, released an online advocacy campaign featuring video testimonials from people who the campaign says have been illegally searched or falsely charged with marijuana possession in New York City.

"Today the ColorOfChange community ramps up the call for what thousands of our New York City members have demanded in recent years -- an end to the illegal frisks and searches that lead to unjust marijuana arrests," said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson in a statement Tuesday. "Every day, Black and Latino New Yorkers experience a New York that's markedly different from that experienced by their White counterparts, one in which they face abuse and humiliation at the hands of police."

Testimonials featured include Andre, who was falsely arrested for burning marijuana during a stop-and-frisk even though he didn't have any marijuana and has said he doesn't use marijuana; Colyssa Stapleton, who lost custody of her daughter as a result of the false charges for burning marijuana; and New York Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, the sponsor of major bipartisan legislation to close the loophole in New York's marijuana decriminalization law.

WATCH the testimonials: (story continues below)

Just 34,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in New York between 1981 and 1995. By contrast, nearly 51,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2011 alone. Of those arrested, nearly 85 percent are black and Latino, although federal government data on drug use show whites use marijuana at higher rates. In the last 15 years, more than 600,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession, according to statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The advocacy campaign will continue on June 12, when hundreds of advocates plan to travel to Albany to pressure state leaders to pass legislation ending arrests for low-level marijuana possession. On June 13 the New York City Council will vote on Resolution 0986, which calls for an end to the arrests.

Below, where you can find legalized medical marijuana in the United States:

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  • Alaska

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanasise/6847095796/" target="_hplink">Flickr: alana sise</a>

  • Arizona

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/billward/110338154/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Bill Ward's Brickpile</a>

  • California

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gerbache/2260207829/" target="_hplink">Flickr: gerbache</a>

  • Colorado

    Also legalized possession by non-medical users. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dok1/520845832/" target="_hplink">Flickr: dok1</a>

  • Connecticut

    Legalized for medical use.

  • District Of Columbia

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigberto/2770838680/" target="_hplink">Flickr: ~MVI~ (off to coron)</a>

  • Delaware

    Legalized for medical use. Flickr: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/7749689644/">Doug Kerr</a>

  • Hawaii

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricardo_mangual/6006230817/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Ricymar Fine Art Photography</a>

  • Illinois

    Legalized for medical use.

  • Maine

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="www.flickr.com/photos/indywriter/2683524563/" target="_hplink">Flickr: indywriter</a>

  • Maryland

    Legalized for medical use.

  • Massachusetts

    Passed ballot initiative for legalized medical marijuana in 2012.

  • Michigan

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayoticblue/213316452/" target="_hplink">Flickr: ckay</a>

  • Montana

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/csbarnhill/2633187564/" target="_hplink">Flickr: csbarnhill</a>

  • Nevada

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/http2007/4699361533/" target="_hplink">Flickr: http2007</a>

  • New Hampshire

    Legalized for medical use.

  • New Jersey

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulflannery/4021996652/" target="_hplink">Flickr: psflannery</a>

  • New Mexico

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/everyskyline/3134662783/" target="_hplink">Flickr: michaelwhitney</a>

  • Oregon

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-powell/2099638403/" target="_hplink">Flickr: digging90650</a>

  • Rhode Island

    Legalized for medical use. Also decriminalized possession of less than one ounce.

  • Vermont

    Legalized for medical use. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanalexander/6129117/" target="_hplink">Flickr: BryanAlexander</a>

  • Washington

    Legalized for medical use. Also legalized possession by non-medical users. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rose_braverman/6924724331/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Rose Braverman</a>

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