TRENTON – With the debate continuing on the possibility of legalizing marijuana use in New Jersey, Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen (D-Middlesex, Somerset) said he wants to end the disproportionate arrest rates for blacks over whites for illegally possessing and using cannabis.

After Thursday’s session where the Assembly Oversight Reform and Federal Relations Committee heard testimony on a proposed constitutional amendment (ACR-840) to legalize adult-use cannabis, Danielsen released the following statement:

“The current policy criminalizing cannabis has created an unregulated, illegal market that has failed in many respects. The enforcement of our cannabis prohibitions has also resulted in disproportionate arrests rates for black New Jerseyans that is nearly three times that of white New Jersey.

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“That is unacceptable. This constitutional amendment would open the door to legislation providing for social justice reforms to overcome past discriminatory laws and policies. 

“There is also a positive financial component to legalization. The taxation of cannabis sales would generate revenue to reinvest in New Jersey communities while its legalization would reduce the approximate annual cost of $127 million to enforce current marijuana possession laws.

“With more than 6 out of every 10 New Jersey residents support marijuana legalization, I am confident the voters will support this amendment if we are successful in placing it on the 2020 ballot.”