Videos Explain Civil Rights Reasons for Legalizing Marijuana and Discuss Cannabis's Potential in Mitigating Opioid Crisis

Affiliate: ACLU of New Jersey
February 14, 2018 1:30 pm

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A new series of online videos released by New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform (NJUMR) aims to shed light on the ways marijuana legalization would advance racial justice, help mediate the opioid crisis, and begin addressing the role marijuana possession has played in creating the civil rights crisis of mass incarceration.

“The video series offers a quick and clear explanation of some of the most compelling reasons for marijuana legalization in New Jersey,” said Amol Sinha, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey. “We look forward to working with the Legislature and Gov. Murphy not only to make marijuana legal for adults in the state, but to correct some of the wrongs that our residents have endured for too long from the current unjust laws.”

The videos address issues of:

Racial Justice – New Jersey’s current laws have led to a civil rights crisis. In the first video, a retired state trooper, a woman arrested for possession, and a policy expert discuss the unjust, racially disparate enforcement of our state’s marijuana possession laws. Despite using marijuana at similar rates, Black New Jerseyans are arrested at a rate three times higher than whites. This means that communities of color disproportionately bear the life-changing collateral consequences of an arrest: potential loss of housing, and risks to their employment and education prospects. Watch the video.

Opioid Dependency – An emergency room doctor who’s an Army veteran and a retired narcotics officer address the manifold medicinal uses of marijuana, including the role it could play in combating opioid dependency and deaths. In 2016, Ocean County alone had more than 218 opioid-related deaths. Marijuana is less habit-forming and less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, and other substances. Rather than encouraging use of other drugs – a myth that has been long disproven by scientists – marijuana holds potential in helping ease the opioid crisis. Watch the video.

Justice in Legislation – Whatever legalization looks like, it must advance racial justice, the third video emphasizes. Advocates, former law enforcement, and a doctor make an appeal to the Legislature and Gov. Murphy directly, calling for the final marijuana legalization bill to include automatic expungement of prior convictions, meaningful ways for all people to participate in the new industry, limited home-grow provisions, and reinvestment in communities impacted by the current drug laws as urgent matters of racial and social justice. This video will be released in the coming weeks.

All three videos will be available on the NJUMR YouTube channel and Facebook page.

The videos, commissioned by NJUMR, were produced by Emily Gallagher of Born Lucky Studios.

New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform is a partnership of public safety, medical, civil rights, faith, political and criminal justice reform organizations and individuals committed to changing New Jersey’s laws to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults. NJUMR believes it’s time to move away from our failed approach to marijuana, and build a safe, controlled and regulated system.

NJUMR Steering Committee: ACLU of New Jersey | Jon-Henry Barr, Esq. – Past President of the New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors Association | William J. Caruso, Esq. – Managing Director of Archer Public Affairs | Doctors for Cannabis Regulation | Latino Action Network | Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) | NAACP New Jersey State Conference | NORML NJ

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