Phil Murphy: Legalizing marijuana is a matter of social and racial justice

TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has announced that the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is a matter of social and racial justice.

“Let me be BLUNT: Legalizing marijuana is a matter of social justice, racial justice, and economic justice,” the governor said.

Democrats across America have pushed the same message Murphy is pushing for decades.  The belief is that marijuana use and incarceration is higher among minorities.  The left claims a minority is more likely to be charged with a marijuana-related offense than a caucasian.

“On the surface, legalizing marijuana might sound like a good way to address issues of systemic injustice. People of color are almost 6 times more likely to be arrested for all drugs, including marijuana, than whites. We need a holistic approach that addresses the causes – not just the symptoms – of injustice,” says the group Smart Approach to Marijuana. “Removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession as part of a comprehensive marijuana policy is a must. Legalization, however, goes too far and creates a multi-billion dollar industry whose impact exacerbates many of the underlying contributors to systemic injustice. The emerging data from states that have tried legalization offer three main reasons why legalization should be opposed as a tool for social justice: Incarceration. Commercialization. Reformation.”

“Where there are issues of systemic injustice and racism, legalization does not address the root of these issues and instead only exacerbates these problems by promoting increased drug use and the accompanying negative social consequences in disadvantaged communities,” the group claims.

“Marijuana has been a key driver of mass criminalization in this country and hundreds of thousands of people, the majority of whom are Black or Latinx, have their lives impacted by a marijuana arrest each year,” says Charlotte Resing, Policy Analyst for the ACLU. “But the tide is turning against the remnants of a drug war targeted at Black and Brown people that was never meant to increase public safety in the first place. Legalization is an important step towards ending the war on drugs, and it cannot come soon enough.”