Last November, New Jerseyans across the state voted overwhelmingly in support of legalizing cannabis for adult use, primarily due to the tremendous harm the war on drugs has perpetrated on Black, brown, and low-income communities. With every day that goes by, New Jerseyans across the state continue to be arrested, limiting opportunity, and devastating families and communities. New Jersey can’t afford any more delays.
There is an urgent need to legalize and decriminalize cannabis. I urge you to advance a solution that grounds consequences for youth who possess or use cannabis in community-based practices that support youth and public health research. We must protect against contact with the criminal legal system and the criminalization of youth, especially since youth of color will be disparately harmed. I urge you to handle cannabis possession by youth the same way that NJ handles tobacco: directing the consequences at adults providing tobacco to minors.
Short of this, a solution should:
• Limit the consequences for possession of cannabis by youth under 21 years old to a warning.
• Eliminate driver’s license suspensions as a punitive measure for possession or consumption of cannabis by youth.
• Remove monetary fines for youth. These are a failed deterrent method, and perpetuate the vast racial disparities for cannabis arrests.
• Ensure robust data privacy protections on the collection of youth data and make quarterly reporting on the use of youth consequences for cannabis available to the public at no cost.
Urge Governor Murphy and members of the New Jersey Legislature to quickly reach an agreement to move cannabis legalization and decriminalization in New Jersey forward.
Send a message to your legislature here:
Source: ACLU New Jersey