New Jersey is a rough place when it comes to marijuana policy. Possession of any amount of marijuana for non-medical purposes is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to$1,000. Black people are almost three times as likely to be arrested for marijuana in New Jersey, despite similar consumption rates as white people. Those issues, among many others, is why a coalition of people are launching a campaign to legalize marijuana in New Jersey. Per the Wall Street Journal:
A group of local prosecutors, civil-rights activists and health officials is launching an effort to make New Jersey the fifth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the U.S.
The campaign, called New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, intends to push for state legislation that would legalize, tax and regulate pot distribution for adults in the state. If it is successful, New Jersey would join Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., in ending possession of pot as a criminal offense.
The New Jersey coalition was set to officially launch Wednesday during an event in Newark. The group has consulted with activists who helped win pot legalization in other states, said Udi Ofer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
The campaign is trying to legalize marijuana stores, as well as legalize the possession of up to one ounce and the cultivation of six plants. The campaign will face an uphill battle. There is strong support among New Jersey voters, but there is far less support from New Jersey politicians. This is something that the coalition realizes, which is why they are aiming for marijuana to become legal in New Jersey after Chris Christie leaves office. Roughly 21,000 people a year are arrested in New Jersey for marijuana.