I have requested a meeting with Senate President Sweeney and Judiciary Committee Chair Scutari to determine what motivation may be behind this blatant disregard for the 100 New Jerseyans – mostly poor, young and minority – who are arrested for small amount marijuana offenses every single day.
It was bad enough last November when Governor Murphy lamented the arrests of “roughly 600 individuals, disproportionately people of color…every week for low-level drug offenses.” But today, if offenders survive the arrest without being shot on the street, they are at peril of being incarcerated in crowded prisons during the coronavirus pandemic. We are subjecting pot smokers to all this risk of life and limb – and making taxpayers pick up the tab – because a bill concerning small amount marijuana charges languishes in committee?
What is wrong with us?
I demand that Senate Bill 2535 be considered by the Judiciary Committee immediately or that it be reassigned to another committee and fast-tracked into law.
I am further compelled to remind my colleagues and all residents of our state that the Black Lives Matter movement is more than a response to state-sanctioned violence to Black bodies and anti-Black racism. It is a call to establish the full social, economic and political justice needed for Black lives to matter in every way, on every level. For Black lives to be at ease. To breathe freely. And to flourish.