Original story below:
NEW JERSEY — Monday’s vote to legalize marijuana in New Jersey could dramatically change the state, legally, financially and especially when it comes to social justice.
Gov. Phil Murphy ran on legalization and spoke earlier at a press conference on the matter.
“We have the widest white, non-white gap of persons incarcerated in America. And far and away the biggest contributor are low end drug offenses.”
The mayors of Jersey City and Newark, two of the state’s largest cities with half a million citizens, have publicly supported the bill to legalize.
Mayor Steven Fulop explained his stance.
“Even this legislation, that isn’t quite where we want it to be, still helps tens of thousands of people.”
Both mayors have recently flipped their ‘no’ votes to a ‘yes’ once they got provisions to expunge, or wipe out, convictions and sentences for low level drug offenses, those associated with selling or possessing five or fewer pounds.
They have long-term impacts on the convicted, and disproportionately hit communities of color.
Murphy continued, “Our kids are exposed with no regulation. The bad guys run the business and make the money. And the social injustices are not cured.”
Alyssa Angolia, a Jersey City resident, said “Personally I’m not a fan of legalized marijuana. I just don’t think there’s a reason for it. But if you’re going to do it, might as well tax it and help out people who have been incarcerated.”