New York, NY – In response to the New Jersey legislature's passage of a measure (SCR183/ACR840) to put marijuana legalization on the 2020 ballot, as well as a bill to expunge records for low-level drug offenses, Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, issued the following statement:
“Given the legislature's inability to pass marijuana regulation on its own, referring the question to the ballot is at least a way for legislators to begin responding to their constituents, 62% of which support legalization. In addition to putting the question before voters, it's critical that policymakers also incorporate measures to repair the harms of prohibition in implementing legislation going forward. Expungement of past marijuana-related offenses is a key component of that, and it's encouraging that policymakers are making progress on that front."
DPA led the most recent efforts in New Jersey (A-4872/S-3195) to legalize and regulate marijuana with a focus on repairing prohibition's harms, which have disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities. The organization was previously successful in passing legislation that created the state’s medical marijuana program. DPA has been involved in various efforts to legalize marijuana in New Jersey since 2008, when it created the New Solutions Campaign in response to the state’s then-out-of-control prison growth. It has since also successfully led the advocacy efforts to pass both drug free zone reform and bail reform in the state.