Prioritize Restorative Justice in Legalization

New Jersey State Legislature and Cannabis Regulatory Commission

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Prioritize Restorative Justice

Our Revolution New Jersey is calling for a socially and racially just approach to cannabis legalization. As November’s ballot measure nears, it is important to recognize that the legalization measure does not address any aspect of restorative justice. There are no expungements, no releases, and no racial justice provisions. It is unacceptable and cruel to leave people in jail and with records as the people of New Jersey celebrate the legalization of cannabis.

We are calling on the New Jersey Legislature, as well as the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, to do everything in their power to accomplish the following demands, which would allow for a more just legalization process:


  1. To provide justice to those who were arrested under the existing prohibition of cannabis, we demand the release of all prisoners being held on cannabis-related offenses and a speedy expungement of all cannabis-related offenses from all criminal records.

  2. To restore justice to those harmed under the racist approach to enforcement of cannabis prohibition, we demand a transitionary opportunity program for all of those newly released (under demand number one) to enter the new cannabis market, with a guaranteed grow and sales licenses upon completion of the program, as well as first access to grants or loans associated with recreational cannabis businesses.

  3. To ease the burden for those in the medical field and their patients requiring medical cannabis, we demand the removal of the extra certification for prescribing medical cannabis under New Jersey’s medical cannabis law, allowing all primary care physicians in New Jersey to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

  4. To recognize the right of the people to have a say in their cannabis products, we demand allowing homegrow for a sensible number of cannabis plants for personal use.

  5. To recognize the injustice and racism inherent in the existing cannabis prohibition laws, we demand a racially just distribution of tax dollars associated with cannabis sales.

  6. To keep young people safe from the slippery slope of shifting existing punishments for cannabis use to people under 21 years of age, we demand that consequence for use of recreational cannabis by someone who is under 21 years of age be sensible and appropriate for an individual of that age group, that there be no jail time or juvenile detention, and that expungement be available upon completion of a diversion program.

  7. To ensure that access to the cannabis market is free and open to entrepreneurs and minority populations, we demand that licensing and application fees be reasonable and the process for obtaining them be accessible.

Co-Sponsoring Organizations:
Our Revolution New Jersey
South Jersey Progressive Democrats
New Jersey Working Families
Cape May County Indivisible
South Jersey Solidarity Collective
Monmouth County CARE
Monmouth County Democratic Progressive Caucus
Central Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Progressive Democrats of America - NJ
Bus for Progress
SOMA Action
South Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Burlington County Young Democrats
RCBC College Democrats

To: New Jersey State Legislature and Cannabis Regulatory Commission
From: [Your Name]

We the undersigned are calling for a socially and racially just approach to cannabis legalization. As November’s ballot measure nears, it is important to recognize that the legalization measure does not address any aspect of restorative justice. There are no expungements, no releases, and no racial justice provisions. It is unacceptable and cruel to leave people in jail and with records as the people of New Jersey celebrate the legalization of cannabis.

We are calling on the New Jersey Legislature, as well as the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, to do everything in their power to accomplish the following demands, which would allow for a more just legalization process:

To provide justice to those who were arrested under the existing prohibition of cannabis, we demand the release of all prisoners being held on cannabis-related offenses and a speedy expungement of all cannabis-related offenses from all criminal records.

To restore justice to those harmed under the racist approach to enforcement of cannabis prohibition, we demand a transitionary opportunity program for all of those newly released (under demand number one) to enter the new cannabis market, with a guaranteed grow and sales licenses upon completion of the program, as well as first access to grants or loans associated with recreational cannabis businesses.

To ease the burden for those in the medical field and their patients requiring medical cannabis, we demand the removal of the extra certification for prescribing medical cannabis under New Jersey’s medical cannabis law, allowing all primary care physicians in New Jersey to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

To recognize the right of the people to have a say in their cannabis products, we demand allowing homegrow for a sensible number of cannabis plants for personal use.

To recognize the injustice and racism inherent in the existing cannabis prohibition laws, we demand a racially just distribution of tax dollars associated with cannabis sales.

To keep young people safe from the slippery slope of shifting existing punishments for cannabis use to people under 21 years of age, we demand that consequence for use of recreational cannabis by someone who is under 21 years of age be sensible and appropriate for an individual of that age group, that there be no jail time or juvenile detention, and that expungement be available upon completion of a diversion program.

To ensure that access to the cannabis market is free and open to entrepreneurs and minority populations, we demand that licensing and application fees be reasonable and the process for obtaining them be accessible.