In 2013, 66 New Jerseyans every day were arrested for low level cannabis-related offenses. That number has risen to 94, a more than 40 percent jump.
Cannabis advocates and politicians in Trenton launched 94 No More on Monday, a campaign focused on bringing attention to the thousands of people arrested annually for low-level cannabis offenses, even during a time when many in New Jersey are pushing for full legalization.
Black and brown people are disproportionately arrested for possession over than their white counter parts, according to the ACLU-NJ. Data from 2016 shows black people are seven times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people in Ocean County. In Hunterdon County, they’re 11 times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people.
“Being a young African American male, we are specifically targeted. The numbers, the data is clear,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley, D-20th District. “I often tell people I look at the FBI data, the same data that police departments highlight to get more funding for what they’re doing, The same data says that people who look like me are more likely to be targeted for low level offenses than any other.”
If legislators had passed adult use cannabis legalization on March 25, when a vote was originally scheduled, 15,000 people would not have been arrested, he said.
“That’s 15,000 lives, 15,000 families, 15,000 people. That’s serious,” Holley said.