Contact: Michele Cook
Action Together New Jersey
Press Conference with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) Marijuana Justice Act
For a full copy of this press release in PDF format, click here: 8-3-17 PR Booker Marijuana Press Conference
Action Together NJ & members of marijuana reform coalitions join the press conference:
Friday August 4, 2017
Linden Municipal Courthouse
301 N Wood Avenue
Linden, New Jersey 07036
Action Together New Jersey (ATNJ) Supports Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act
NJ’s fastest growing, progressive, grassroots group, Action Together New Jersey (ATNJ,) supports Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act and advocates for fair and equitable drug policy reform in collaboration with Drug Policy Alliance’s New Solutions Campaign Coalition and the New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform Coalition (NJUMR.)
Trenton, NJ – August 3, 2017-
The fastest growing, statewide, progressive, grassroots group, Action Together New Jersey (ATNJ) supports Senator Cory Booker’s newly introduced Marijuana Justice Act. The bill would both legalize marijuana at the federal level and encourage states to legalize it at the state level. According to ATNJ’s Director of Drug Policy Reform, Moira Nelson, the most important part of the proposed legislation is the promise to consider retroactively expunging the criminal records of those who were convicted solely for possession and/or use and to hold sentencing hearings for those currently serving time. “We know that communities of color and low income communities have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people even though both use marijuana at similar rates. This is a fact. These convictions are tearing families apart, it’s difficult to find a job once you’ve been convicted, it’s impossible to get a student loan and hard to obtain housing. Marijuana should not have prohibited in the first place. It was an oppression tactic. The time has come to regulate and tax marijuana in the same way we do alcohol,” says Nelson. She continued by saying, “We fully support the Senator’s proposed Marijuana Justice Act. We recognize that it might take time to shift the thinking in this country. But times are changing rapidly. Now is the time to begin the dialogue. Once you debunk the myths associated with marijuana use, polls indicate that most Americans favor the legalization of marijuana.”
In New Jersey, ATNJ is partnered with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and is part of their New Solutions Campaign Coalition which is focused on fair and equitable marijuana legalization policy in the state of New Jersey. And more recently, ATNJ joined the New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform Coalition (NJUMR) which is led by the ACLU-NJ. Fair and equitable marijuana legalization is a priority for both coalitions as they campaign to reform New Jersey’s broken criminal justice system. Action Together New Jersey’s mission includes advocating for social and racial justice, and criminal justice reform, so the organization’s leadership felt compelled to join these strong coalitions of community activists and faith leaders and prominent social justice and civil rights organizations including the NAACP- NJ State Conference, National Organization of Women NJ (NOW-NJ,) New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Citizen Action, People’s Organization for Progress, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, to name a few.
In New Jersey, Senate Bill 3195 / Assembly Bill 4872 which would legalize marijuana in the state, was introduced by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) back in May. As part of the legalization campaign in NJ, Action Together New Jersey and the other members of the coalitions are working to ensure that policies which are fair, equitable and just are incorporated into the legislation. The coalition is fighting for policies such as automatic and retroactive expungement for people previously convicted of marijuana offenses, investment of some portion of the revenue generated from the sale of legal marijuana into the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition, and equal opportunity to access the jobs and wealth generated by the marijuana industry.
On June 19, 2017, Moira Nelson, joined dozens of other advocates at the State House Annex in Trenton to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee which is chaired by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (the marijuana legalization bill’s sponsor.) During the public hearing (which lasted most of the day,) leaders from across the state testified in favor of legalization, however, many of those who spoke were there to encourage legislation that incorporated policies intended to repair the harms that have been done to those communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition.
After the hearing, Nelson said, “It was incredibly inspiring to participate in our democratic process. Our state legislators are being very thoughtful about this particular piece of legislation – as they should be! It was encouraging to see so many people in favor of marijuana legalization, but more importantly, it was very uplifting to hear person after person speak up on behalf of those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by prohibition for decades. African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people even though both use marijuana at similar rates. This is a fact. I feel obligated to speak out on this issue.” She went on to say, “I am very hopeful for our future. In this unsettling political climate, we need advocates and allies to speak up for those that are disenfranchised in some way. What I witnessed today brings me immense hope.”
ABOUT ACTION TOGETHER NEW JERSEY:
Who We Are
We are the largest grassroots group in NJ and we are growing every day as NJ citizens join to fight for our values. We share a passion for equal rights, for progressive ideals, and for building a brighter future for all Americans. We are your neighbors, your friends, and your coworkers. And while we don’t always see eye to eye on every issue (just look at the pork roll/Taylor ham divide), we are residents banded together to help secure a more inclusive and progressive future for our state and our country. We invite you to join us and to be at the forefront of that change. ATNJ is part of the grassroots national network, Action Together Network (ATN), which numbers around 750,000 grassroots members nationwide.
A few of the causes we value and fight for include:
Racial Justice, Reproductive Rights, Environmental Concerns, Women’s Rights, LGBTQ+ Rights, Common Sense Gun Laws, Immigration, Education, Healthcare, Social Services, Criminal Justice Reform, Electoral Reform, Finance and Economic Reform, Smart Foreign Policy, Workers’ Rights, Civil Rights Protection and Expansion, and Military and Veterans Issues.
For more information on what we do, and how we strive to accomplish our goals, visit us at: www.ATNJ.org