ACLU-NJ Echoes Call for Marijuana and Budget That Reflects Our Values

Affiliate: ACLU of New Jersey
March 7, 2019 2:00 pm

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Following Governor Phil Murphy’s annual budget address, the ACLU-NJ echoed the call for funding for civil rights priorities, calling on the Legislature to approve a budget that places social justice at the fore.

The following can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha:

“It’s imperative that our state’s budget reflect the state’s values by prioritizing civil rights, racial justice, and the freedom of New Jerseyans, and much of Gov. Murphy’s speech aligned with those values.

“Gov. Murphy’s emphasis on a marijuana legalization plan that actively advances racial justice – along with the recognition that racial disparities go far beyond marijuana arrests – puts some of the moral urgency of legalization front and center. We need a marijuana legalization bill that includes expungements, as Gov. Murphy mentioned, but also reinvestment into communities hit hardest by the drug war, low barriers to entering the cannabis economy, and home-grow provisions for personal use.

“We welcome the proposed increase in funding for a program of legal representation for detained immigrants, an initiative that has already helped keep families together. The increase in funding creates a fairer legal process for more New Jerseyans, who face dire stakes without a lawyer even when they have a solid legal case. We call on the Legislature to go even further in securing the constitutional right to counsel by fully funding a legal representation program for all detained people facing deportation who can’t afford a lawyer.

“The governor’s attention to New Jersey’s staggering racial disparities in maternal mortality, on top of our worst-in-the-nation racial disparities in incarceration, was a watershed moment. And the governor’s support for family planning funding protects New Jerseyans at a time when the federal government cannot give similar assurance to the American people.

“We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure that the New Jersey budget does everything in its power to uplift the rights of New Jersey’s people.”

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