It’s a fair bet that in New Jersey, when Democrats in power start talking about “diversity,” they’re simultaneously sticking it to minorities. In this case, marijuana legalization provided the forum in which to do damage as those same individuals used as part of a pre-Election Day human barricade in the name of social justice found themselves summarily scrapped post Election Day as that apparently unnecessary ingredient in legislative leadership’s pro-business bonanza.
Reverend Charles Boyer
The public passed marijuana legalization on Nov. 6th supposedly to be free of the regulatory intrusiveness of government, and today the state Senate Appropriations Committee demonstrated new vistas of intrusive potential as it passed – along party lines – Senate Bill No. 21, with some amendments targeting social justice concerns that diverged from the Assembly version of the bill and created more questions than answers.
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.
Even though a vote to legalize weed in New Jersey is still months away, the Legislature is considering a bill to decriminalize marijuana that would make a pot bust cheaper than a traffic ticket.
The decriminalization bill, introduced by state Sens. Teresa Ruiz, Sandra Cunningham and Ronald Rice, represents a move clamored for by activists, who say the state needs to decriminalize the drug while it awaits the results of a marijuana legalization ballot question in November.
My concern is that the existing proposals serve the state budget and the existing largely white marijuana industry more than the people the existing prohibition injured. Five areas that legalization should cover are:
Rev. William Henry opposes marijuana legalization. He says government rarely does with the proceeds what it says it will do.
“And you may say, ‘why would children be smoking marijuana?’ Well, if their parents have it, it’s in their household,” said Henry, a pastor at Everlasting Life Ministries.
On Thursday, March 8th, the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Woodbury, Gloucester County NAACP and the Drug Policy Alliance will host, “Marijuana Legalization: Faith, Facts & Fiction,” at 7:00 pm at Bethel AME Church (32 Courtland Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096).