Ballot measure plan delays justice, creates more red tape, and does not guarantee crucial racial and social justice provisions
Yesterday, on Nov. 18, Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced that the legislature would try to pass marijuana legalization through a ballot measure rather than legislation.
New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform issued the following statement in response:
“Putting legalization of adult-use marijuana on the ballot is a profound mistake. We call on the Legislature to approach the issue head-on with an up-or-down vote before the end of session, especially before taking the drastic step of proposing an amendment to the state Constitution. Advocates and lawmakers have worked painstakingly to secure racial and social justice in legislation to legalize cannabis. It benefits New Jerseyans to have the Legislature cast a vote before abandoning this current bill, which has provisions that can begin repairing the harms of the drug war and can truly make people’s lives better by preventing tens of thousands of unnecessary arrests.
“Taking the extreme step of amending the Constitution is rarely done in New Jersey, and for a good reason: voters should not be told to vote first on an important issue and ask questions later. Voters need to know the details of a complex proposal like the legalization of adult-use cannabis – details that should not be sorted out in a yes-or-no, all-or-nothing vote at the ballot box. Rather, these details should be worked out in the Legislature, where the people can have input.