USA: NJ – Pot Promises Failed – The People Don’t Want it!

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At a hearing of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus, coalition members of New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (NJ-RAMP) expressed their opposition to the legalization and commercialization of recreational marijuana in New Jersey.

Parents, law enforcement professionals, religious leaders, employers, and addiction professionals offered testimony, insights and expertise on a multitude of issues including health concerns, increase in youth use, drugged driving, and arrest rates among minorities.

According to news reports, a number of legislators would rather see decriminalization than legalization in New Jersey.  The Black Caucus prefers decriminalization as more helpful to minorities.

Nevada law enforcement official cite social costs and increase in crime

Todd Raybuck, a police captain in Las Vegas, Nevada, discussed the increase in crime and strengthening of the black market since recreational marijuana was legalized:

“The lure of increased tax revenue and claims of a regulated system that will eliminate the criminal element and repair historical harms to the minority community is intoxicating. Yet, as we are learning in Nevada, the financial gains from the marijuana industry do not adequately support the resources needed to control the effects of marijuana legalization. And, the promises of a regulated industry that will weed-out the illegal marijuana market and improve social conditions in disadvantaged neighborhoods are contrary to the reality.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is already seeing a negative impact on crime and the black market. In 2017, homicides related to an altercation over drugs increased 21% compared to 2016. Marijuana was the cause of the altercation in 53% of those homicides. In 2017, 58% of all drug related murders (24) involved marijuana.”

Legalizing doesn’t improve social justice issues

Will Jones, Communications Specialist for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and a resident of Washington, DC, spoke about the false promise of social justice reform and pointed to statistics that show minority arrests related to marijuana are up in legalized states. In the two years after Colorado legalized marijuana, the number of Hispanic and Black kids arrested for marijuana-related offenses rose 29 and 58 percent, respectively. In the same period, the arrest rate for White kids committing pot offenses dropped eight percent.

“To continue to legalize and commercialize marijuana is to continue an addictive industry to profit off minorities and the marginalized.  It’s time for us to wake up and realize that legalizing marijuana only reinforces the pillars of racial inequality in our country,” Jones said.

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