Brian Powers is proud to be a Communist.
The U.S. Navy veteran, who served two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf, has his own online radio station in the basement of his red-painted home in the Avenel section of Woodbridge called New Jersey Revolution Radio dedicated to the socialist cause.
He's also a proud card-carrying medical marijuana user.
Meanwhile, the MRTA advocates — who had viewed Cuomo’s 2019 legalization measure as too restrictive, and lacking sufficient equity measures — are weighing whether his new measure is worth supporting.
In September, Gov. Tom Wolf publicly announced his support for legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use. Days later, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the state’s top law enforcement official, did the same.
Cannabis prohibition has been a heavy burden on Pennsylvania taxpayers. Approximately 20,000 Pennsylvanians are arrested per year for simple possession charges, costing the state tens of millions of dollars annually. This does not include lost tax revenue, which the auditor general estimates to be an annual $580 million.
The township and its publicly funded insurer tried to use $37,500 of taxpayer money to buy the silence of a medical pot user who sued the police department three years ago for entering his home without a warrant and later arresting him for marijuana possession.
However, the township’s attempt to procure a gag order backfired after the parties found themselves at an impasse over the details of the proposed confidentiality clause, resulting in the entire settlement’s unraveling last month in a federal court ruling that has now been made public.
In the campaign to legalize marijuana, one statistic has stood out for years: Black people in New Jersey are arrested for marijuana possession at a rate three times higher than white people, despite similar usage rates.
The severe disparities have persisted, but the number of arrests has skyrocketed. When the ACLU-NJ released a report three years ago analyzing marijuana arrests between 2000 and 2013, marijuana-related arrests were at an all-time high of 27,923 annually. In 2017, that number was 37,623 arrests, as documented in a newly released ACLU-NJ data brief.
Garden State NORML and cannabis consumers across New Jersey are calling on legislators to find an immediate solution to stop arresting nearly 100 people every day for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
“Taxpayers are spending millions to put handcuffs on marijuana consumers, the same people who are expected to come out to the polls and vote for a constitutional amendment,” said Garden State NORML Executive Director Charlana McKeithen. “With another delay for full legalization, we hope elected officials will explore every option to stop these needless arrests.”
By the way … I think marijuana should be legal for two reasons: One, because if booze is legal, there is no good reason why weed shouldn’t be.
The second reason? Because while we wait for the legislature to make sure this gets on the ballot - you’re not gonna fudge this one up, are you legislature? - New Jersey residents continue to be arrested in record numbers for simple possession.
According to an ACLU study, the number of marijuana arrests for possession went up 35% from 2013 to 2017.
Gov. Phil Murphy threw his weight behind the decriminalization of marijuana as “short-term relief” until a 2020 ballot measure that will ask voters if the state should legalize recreational cannabis.
Murphy has previously been an opponent of decriminalization, arguing it would open the state’s marijuana business “to the bad guys.”
His sudden reversal comes less than a day after a report by NJ.com highlighting that as talks have failed to push a bill through the state Legislature to legalize adult-use marijuana, the focus would instead be on decriminalization.
In the end, the pathway to New Jersey’s legalization of recreational marijuana will likely end up where many observers believed it would all along: in a statewide referendum in 2020.
Though we had some issues with parts of the legislative package that has been put forward during the many months of debate on the issue, we have long believed adult-use marijuana legalization is the right thing to do, morally, in this state, to reverse decades of biased enforcement that overwhelmingly targets young people of color for minor offenses.
Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney will reportedly drop the felony drug charges against the recipient of 106 pounds of hemp arrested earlier this month, according to NBC New York. Ronen Levy was arrested after FedEx tipped off police about the shipment, which was sent from Vermont and tested under legal THC limits.