With new amendments, marijuana legislation on the precipice of promoting racial and social justice in legalization
After the addition of new amendments to A2703/A4497, a bill to legalize marijuana for adults, the New Jersey Legislature now considers one of the most progressive proposals to make cannabis legal.
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha:
"No state has leaned into social justice through marijuana legalization as wholeheartedly as New Jersey is poised to. This bill sets a baseline for what it looks like to meaningfully acknowledge the human wreckage of the drug war and make good-faith efforts to reverse the damage done.
"The legislation creates an expedited expungement process, guarantees non-discrimination based on cannabis use, allows people with records to participate in the cannabis economy, emphasizes industry diversity, and requires at least one social justice representative to sit on the board of the commission governing cannabis regulation.
"No legislation can accomplish all things – and there is certainly room for improvement in this bill – but this plan is the first we've seen that can meaningfully begin to address the devastation that the drug war has wrought, especially on communities of color.
"This is a historic moment, not just because marijuana could soon be legal in the most densely populated and one of the most diverse states in the nation. This is a historic moment because, guided by social justice advocates, our state has relied on tenets of racial justice and equity to guide its path to legalization."