Marijuana Reform in New Jersey

Unequal application of the law and other harms of marijuana prohibition affect millions of New Jerseyans every year. DPA led the campaign to pass legislation which created New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. We are currently working on the New Solutions Marijuana Reform Campaign to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol for adults in New Jersey. 

New Jersey’s marijuana laws have had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Marijuana legalization in New Jersey must be fair and equitable and must address past disproportionate harms to communities of color.

The video below highlights a panel on marijuana legalization and racial justice we convened earlier this year to lift up what fair and equitable marijuana legalization should look like in New Jersey.

Marijuana Legalization

New Jersey arrests more than 32,000 people a year for marijuana possession at a cost of more than $140 million to New Jersey taxpayers. This absurd and wasteful policy criminalizes otherwise law-abiding people and wastes resources that would be better spent on projects that support our families and communities.

Marijuana arrests and convictions can have severe long-term consequences, especially for communities of color that are disproportionately harmed by the impact of New Jersey’s marijuana laws. African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites even though both use marijuana at the same rates. Anecdotal evidence suggests similar disparities for Latinos. Marijuana laws have also been used to support biased policies like stop and frisk, racial profiling and the deportation of people of color. 

The solution is to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol for adults. New Jersey should enact common sense and popular reform to create a responsible, safe and controlled system for marijuana.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana. These states have created new jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenues without negative consequences. By legalizing marijuana New Jersey can see similar results.

Benefits of Legalization

  • It will create new jobs.
  • Millions in tax revenue will fund projects to help all New Jersey residents.
  • Otherwise law-abiding people will no longer be labeled as criminals.
  • Racial disparities and harms will be reduced. 
  • Resources that are currently wasted on marijuana prohibition will be freed to use for projects that support our families and communities.

A broad coalition of faith leaders, civil rights and racial justice advocates and a majority of New Jerseyans support legalization. The time has come for New Jersey to legalize marijuana and align its laws with the values and opinions of its residents.

Check out the video below which launched our campaign for fair and equitable reform in New Jersey. 

New Jersey’s marijuana laws have had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Marijuana legalization in New Jersey must be fair and equitable and must address past disproportionate harms to communities of color.

As New Jersey considers legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana, fairness and equity demand a system that provides a level playing field and addresses past harms. As demonstrated in our model billfair and equitable reform must include policies that encourage full participation in the industry by communities disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and must repair past harms.

Join us to support marijuana reform in New Jersey.

Road the Legalization

In June 2018, Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) introduced Senate Bill 2703 which would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over in New Jersey. 

Drug Policy Alliance and the New Solutions Marijuana Reform Campaign have some concerns about the legislation and look forward to working with the sponsors to ensure that any legalization measure in New Jersey prioritizes racial and social justice elements and establishes a fair and equitable marijuana market in our state.

Campaign Resources

You can help support the New Solutions Marijuana Reform Campaign by downloading and distributing our campaign resources. Activate your community to support marijuana reform in New Jersey.


New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Program

In 2010 New Jersey passed legislation establishing a program that allows seriously ill patients to access medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. Learn about New Jersey's medical marijuana program and what DPA is doing to protect and educate patients, caregivers and doctors.

Marijuana Legalization and Regulation