JERSEY CITY, NJ — Jersey City is set to decriminalize marijuana use as of Thursday.
The city's move comes as the state works to legalize recreational use of the drug. With the blessing of Mayor Steve Fulop, Jersey City has now leapfrogged the state’s effort.
Chief Jersey City Prosecutor Jake Hudnut’s letter to his assistant municipal prosecutors explains the city's decision. moves to officially decriminalize marijuana use.
“In New Jersey, people of color are three times more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for marijuana," Hudnut said.
This is especially significant when it comes to interactions with police on the street – and prosecutors in the courtroom.
“We’re still, at the end of the day, going to try to avoid a misdemeanor conviction and really stand up for a population of the city that hasn’t seen municipal prosecutors work on their behalf," Hudnut said. "And that’s what we’re going to do now."
The decision was supported by Jersey City resident Christopher Torres.
"If you're not hurting anyone and you're minding your business, why not?" he said
Governor Phil Murphy has already expanded the Garden State’s medical marijuana program to help ALS sufferers and he’s expected to legalize recreational marijuana use by early next year.
"Awesome," Jersey City resident Tina McNerney said about the change. "Beneficial for the economy, beneficial for anxiety, beneficial for all."