Fixes Needed to the Marijuana Legalization Bill

October 05, 2018

NJUMR is concerned that the most recent draft legislation legalizing recreational marijuana is still missing the mark. The organization notes:
Although the legislation has good things, it does not sufficiently address racial and social justice. And, while we know this is not the final version of the legislation (which we hope to see soon!), the current draft does NOT include many important components:
  • It doesn’t include a meaningful process to expunge prior marijuana records quickly and efficiently.
  • There is no meaningful equity program to allow people who live in communities that have been harmed by the drug war – disproportionately communities of color – to have access to the new economy. 
  • It does not include reinvestment in communities harmed by the drug war. Legal marijuana sales are estimated to generate more than $300 million per year in tax revenue. We need a solution that makes sure that a portion of that goes toward building up the viability of communities that have been harmed by prohibition – again, largely communities of color.
  • It does not include home grow. People should be able to grow a small number of plants in their homes for personal use, especially since the substance derived from that plant will now be legal.
There’s a lot of good: the new bill creates opportunities for people with criminal records to work in the industry, creates public consumption spaces, and allows delivery for people with limited mobility. It works toward an equity program – but right now, it falls far short of what’s needed for real progress toward racial and social equity. 
NJUMR is encouraging New Jersey residents to make sure our Governor, Senators and Assembly members know they want the final bill to include expungement, equity, reinvestment and home grow.
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