State Senator Rice released an op-ed on the 4th of July, in which he made a plea to his peers in the New Jersey State Legislature to prioritize decriminalization-
“We can make this happen and put our state at the vanguard of social justice in America. We can infuse our independence with a deeper level of freedom grounded in real justice for all. We can give the Fourth of July even greater meaning and let our fireworks reflect our own impossible formations of brilliance that make us one vibrant, colorful nation.”
State Senator Rice is right about one thing. Arrests for cannabis possession must stop immediately, and the New Jersey State Legislature must put aside petty politics and get this done. But what the state senator fails to realize it that decriminalization alone is simply not enough to undo the havoc that prohibition has wreaked upon communities across the state, including Newark, in his home district.
In a letter he wrote to his legislative colleagues earlier this year, State Senator Rice laid out a list of reasons to vote no on legalization bills S2703/A4497 and they read like they were taken straight from Kevin Sabet’s Twitter page. What State Senator Rice and the prohibitionist lobby fail to note is that their cherry-picked studies and alarmist prohibition propaganda ignore the larger studies that find that legalization has little to no negative impact on communities in legal states, and in most cases, bring positive change to the states who choose to legalize cannabis and implement common-sense regulatory structures.