Weed Reader

The New Jersey Marijuana Justice Act

WeedReader — August 22, 2017

By Adam Rhodes

The Action Together New Jersey (ATNJ) Supports Senator Cory Booker's Marijuana Justice Act. The ATJN advocates for fair and equitable drug policy reform. Sen. Booker's Marijuana Justice Act would legalize marijuana at the federal level. It would also encourage states to legalize marijuana. One of the most important parts of the Marijuana Justice Act is the promise of expunging criminal records. This includes those convicted solely for possession and/or use. Also, to hold sentencing hearings for those currently serving time.

ATJN's Director of Drug Policy Reform, Moira Nelson made a statement. "We know that communities of color and low income communities have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people even though both use marijuana at similar rates. This is a fact. These convictions are tearing families apart, it's difficult to find a job once you've been convicted, it's impossible to get a student loan and hard to obtain housing. Marijuana should not have prohibited in the first place. It was an oppression tactic. The time has come to regulate and tax marijuana in the same way we do alcohol".

Several New Jersey groups have paired up with ATJN such as the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and the New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform Coalition (NJUMR). In addition, thousands of citizens support the move. Also, the NAACP - NJ State Conference, National Organization of Woman NJ (NOW-NJ), New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Citizen Action, People's Organization for Progress, Latino Justice PRLDEF, to name a few.

ATJN and other members of the coalition are working together to ensure policies are fair, equitable and just. The coalition is fighting for policies such as expungement for people previously convicted of marijuana offenses, investment of some portion of the revenue generated from the sale of legal marijuana back into the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition, and equal opportunity to access employment created by the cannabis industry.

After the hearing, Nelson said that it was inspiring to see how thoughtful the state legislators were about this legislation. And how many people are in favor of marijuana legislation. Nelson also went on to comment that it was really uplifting hearing person after person speak on behalf of those communities. These communities have feel the deep impact of prohibition and speak for many. "I am very hopeful for our future. In this unsettling political climate, we need advocates and allies to speak up for those that are disenfranchised in some way. What I witnessed today brings me immense hope."

For more information about what ATJN commits too and what they strive to accomplish, please visit them at www.ATJN.org.

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