Marijuana legalization moves forward in New Jersey

Marijuana legalization just passed its first-ever committee vote in New Jersey. This is an historic step toward ending marijuana prohibition. We’ve been able to get some fair and equitable provisions in the bill, and we need to ensure they stay in and continue pushing for more as the bill moves forward.

Tell your NJ legislators to ensure the legislation includes racial and social justice policies to repair past harms and encourages full participation in the industry by communities most harmed by marijuana prohibition. 

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Your Message
Support Fair and Equitable Marijuana Legalization in New Jersey
Dear Senator/Assemblyman/Assemblywoman,

As a voter in New Jersey and supporter of marijuana legalization, I am writing to urge you to support fair and equitable marijuana legislation that creates a diverse industry and repairs the harms that have disparately impacted communities of color in New Jersey. Senate Bill 2703/Assembly Bill 4497 contain many of these provisions.

We know that marijuana laws in New Jersey have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites even though both use marijuana at the same rates. Anecdotal evidence suggests similar disparities for Latinos. New Jersey arrests more than 32,000 people a year for marijuana possession at a cost of more than $140 million to New Jersey taxpayers. This absurd and wasteful policy criminalizes otherwise law-abiding people and wastes resources that would be better spent on projects that support our families and communities.

A conviction for marijuana possession can have severe long-term consequences. The resulting criminal record subjects a person to a system of legal discrimination that can last a lifetime and can make it difficult or impossible to secure employment, housing, student loans or even a driver’s license. Even without a conviction, the consequences of an arrest can include untold stigma and humiliation, the financial burden of a criminal court proceeding and lost hours at work or school.

Fair and equitable marijuana legalization is supported by a broad coalition of faith leaders, civil rights groups and social justice organizations, including the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, Latino Action Network, Salvation and Social Justice, and Drug Policy Alliance just to name a few.

The criminalization of marijuana has been a tragic failure and I applaud the Legislature for considering legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana as other states have done so successfully. But, legalizing marijuana without addressing racial and social justice would also be a failure. I urge you to support marijuana legalization legislation that creates a fair and equitable marijuana market and repairs the harms that have disproportionately impacted communities of color. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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