“This is only one piece of the many parts of change that must be done in the name of social justice for our communities. The War on Drugs in many ways became a war on particular communities, incarcerating millions of people and affecting families irreparably for decades,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “The action we take now to help our black and brown communities who have been disproportionately affected by current laws surrounding cannabis use is critical to trauma for future generations.”
Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee
Lawmakers are moving ahead with the second bill proposed in recent weeks that would decriminalize certain levels of marijuana possession in New Jersey, amid mounting protests both in the state and nationwide against racial inequality.
Their introduction comes months ahead of a ballot question set for November’s 2020 presidential election, where voters will decide whether recreational marijuana should be legalized for adult-use.
Two Assembly bills – A1897 and A4269 – were merged into a new bill (click here to see it) that was advanced by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee. Democrats voted for the bill, while the Republicans voted to abstain after receiving the 18-page bill around 45 minutes before the meeting.
Under the committee substitute, money from the marijuana fines would go to the municipality where the violation occurred. Rev. Charles Boyer of Salvation and Social Justice said it would be best if it went to the state.