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Support Marijuana Reform in New Jersey 

Join the New Solutions Marijuana Reform Campaign to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol for adults in New Jersey!

 

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Moral Framework for Legalization

In New Jersey, African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites even though both use marijuana at similar rates. As faith leaders it is obvious we do not support or promote the recreational use of marijuana, but we should support the end of prohibition. Marijuana prohibition must be understood from a moral and racial justice perspective. African American faith leaders, especially have seen firsthand how the war on drugs has disproportionately harmed our communities even though black and white communities use marijuana at similar rates. Marijuana laws have been used to support biased policies like stop and frisk, racial profiling and the deportation of people of color. As people of faith, we are called to pursue a fairer and more compassionate world. Marijuana legalization is an essential step to realizing this purpose. We must understand clearly that marijuana prohibition started as a means to control and incarcerate African Americans and Mexicans. It has done exactly what it was designed for. 

Marijuana prohibition and the failed war on drugs has devastated communities of color. Fair and equitable marijuana legalization in our state can be a first step to repairing some of the harms inflicted on our families and communities by marijuana criminalization. Simple decriminalization still leaves a black market open which is now more accessible and dangerous for our children. Our children can get marijuana easier than they can get a beer. A tough on crime emotional response to legalization is irresponsible and undergirds a system built for a racist end. 

Every year in New Jersey, more than 24,000 people are arrested for marijuana possession. More than fifty years after the War on Drugs was launched, it is time to acknowledge that marijuana prohibition has failed to stem drug use or promote the safety of our communities. Instead, it has served as a gateway to the criminal justice system and a barrier to opportunity for people in New Jersey and around the country. 

Last year, we testified in support of marijuana reform before the Senate Judiciary Committee to ensure that racial justice provisions are incorporated. We have a broad coalition of civil rights and social justice groups, including the Drug Policy Alliance, NAACP New Jersey State Conference, the Latino Action Network, New Jersey Parents’ Caucus, New Jersey Policy Perspective, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey, ACLU of New Jersey, and Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, to name a few. The majority of New Jerseyans also support legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana. We must unite in our commitment to fight for marijuana reform legislation that enriches all our people. Now is the time to demand fairness and equity.