Our cannabis laws disproportionately harm Black New Jerseyans.
New Jersey is making more cannabis-related arrests than ever before: over 37,000 per year, the vast majority of which are for simple possession. But our cannabis laws are not enforced equally in all communities. Despite evidence that Black people and white people use cannabis at about the same rate, Black people are arrested at a rate 3.5 times higher than white people.
The debilitating costs of a small cannabis possession conviction are even more problematic in how they disproportionately impact communities of color. These potential consequences are made worse by the stigma and humiliation that go with an arrest, the additional financial burden of bail and legal costs, and the hours lost in school or work time.
By eliminating these arrests, taxing and regulating cannabis will address the harms of racial disparities in our troubled criminal justice system.