New Jersey’s black lawmakers, who may decide whether marijuana becomes legal in the state, are hearing a dystopian vision of a society in which babies are exposed to pot smoke, teenagers munch on marijuana-laced foods in school cafeterias, and the leaf replaces tomatoes and blueberries as a symbol of Garden State agriculture.
With 19 members, all of them Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus is taking on a high-profile role as lawmakers consider whether to make New Jersey the second state to legalize adult use of marijuana through legislation rather than a voter referendum. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy supports the idea.
Some black lawmakers are pushing back against Murphy’s argument that legal marijuana would reduce disparities in drug-related arrests among white and non-white populations while freeing up police and prosecutors for more serious crimes. Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, has said he plans to present Murphy with a legalization bill early in the governor’s term.
Nash, James. “NJ marijuana legalization: Black lawmakers see nightmare vision of NJ high on legal weed.” www.northjersey.com. 26 February 2018. Web. 26 February 2018.