Fund People NOT Police: NJ Marijuana Bill
Fund People NOT Police: Give NJ the Marijuana Bill We Voted For
New Jersey overwhelmingly voted for legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older. Also, to legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana.
North New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (NNJDSA) viewed the legalization of cannabis as a victory, one that would begin the long process of repairing the damage inflicted by the draconian “War on Drugs.” This ongoing “war” continues to be responsible for approximately 88 arrests a day for marijuana in New Jersey.
Quickly and quietly, NJ legislators are attempting to undermine the bill by passing a bill that doesn’t reflect the public’s intent. NJ State Senators Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) and NJ Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Union) have created a bill (S21/A21) in which tax revenue from cannabis sales would go toward subsidizing police training and government projects.
Following a summer of historic and massive Black Lives Matter social movements calling to defund police and invest in communities, it is unconscionable that our politicians are trying to pass a bill that ignores our voices and instead asks for more police funding. This flies in the face of the racial equity and restorative justice we fought for along with cannabis legalization.
NNJDSA insists this bill be the beginning of a form of reparations to the mostly Black and Brown communities who, historically and disproportionately, have been targeted by cannabis criminalization and police interference. Lawmakers should be taxing millionaires and billionaires in New Jersey to make up for budget deficits, not using Marijuana sales to save broken budgets.
These Senators know the bill they hope to pass is wildly unpopular, which accounts for their stealth. On Friday, November 6th, the public was given just three hours to contest their bill before posting it for a vote. Fortunately, due to the work of activists who organized against finalizing this terrible bill, the vote has been postponed and we still have time to fight.
Voting sessions are scheduled for December, so we must act now to pressure these representatives to do the right thing.
We demand that the subsidies from the sales of marijuana, in the state of New Jersey, fund communities that have been ravaged by the war on drugs to fund initiatives:
Free Expungement for Marijuana Convictions
Public and Behavioral Health
Legal Aid for Civil and Criminal Cases
Restorative Justice Programs
We urge all to contact your two assembly people, your senator and Governor Murphy by phone, email, Twitter, or anyway possible. Tell them to ensure S21/A21 is amended so that it funds people and not the police. NNJDSA will be hosting call-in days, where we can support each other in making calls. Join us:
RSVP FOR ZOOM LINK!
This task can’t be conquered individually. It is in moments like these that we must UNITE. For through comradery, we can achieve economic and racial justice for all.
The North New Jersey Chapter of DSA is growing exponentially by the day, and we need you to work for social and racial justice. Join us now!