The New Jersey Marijuana legalization bill continues to move forward. The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted a solid 6-1 in favor of the bill, and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved their version of the bill with a 6-4 vote.
Many headlines are suggesting that this is a huge win for The Garden State, and articles are indicating that the bill provides “for the expungement of prior cannabis convictions.” This is only half true.
Any move towards cannabis legalization is positive, but it needs to be executed appropriately. The expungement of cannabis convictions only extends to possession charges. Those who were incarcerated for distribution will remain behind bars until more political action is taken. Sure, these individuals chose to break the law, but the law was preventing access to a medicinal plant.
While some distributors sold cannabis purely for recreational purposes, they also helped to keep the marijuana movement alive. Without the efforts of underground cultivation and distribution, it is doubtful that we would be seeing the advancements in medical research surrounding this power plant. Due to the efforts of the renegades who kept this plant alive and well, patients across New Jersey and the entire country will now be able to naturally treat conditions such as cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis and much more.
In reality, even the recreational use of cannabis is incredibly safe. There is no recorded case of cannabis overdose being the sole cause of death. That’s zero fatalities in over 5,000 years of recorded use. What the plant IS busy doing while it IS NOT harming the body, is providing a flush of plant nutrient compounds including neuroprotective antioxidants. The neuroprotective qualities of cannabis can keep your mind sharp and healthy. Compare that to the well-documented neurotoxicity of alcohol and nicotine, America’s drugs of choice.
Targeting Minorities With New Legislation
The prevention of distribution expungement is directly targeting minority populations. For example, black citizens are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested than whites. This was never about protecting the populace from the harmful effects of marijuana. Cannabis prohibition has always been about ruining lives, breaking apart families, and keeping minorities in poor conditions. This new bill is white supremacy and bigotry happening right before our eyes.
As an extension of this problem, those who have received convictions in the past will not be allowed to participate in the new cannabis market. Even though these individuals fought to keep cannabis alive and well so that those in need could gain access, these distributors don’t stand to make any money. They also cannot help to ensure that this legal distribution process keeps the best interest of the people at heart.
Most of the convictions, of course, are minorities. So by not allowing individuals with a cannabis charge to participate in the market, politicians are putting money into the pockets of the white elite, and yes, they will be making large amounts of money off of this bill. As it stands, the dispensaries will be selling this medicine at two times the rate of west cost markets. This is an inexcusable rate considering the fact that New Jersey has over 45,000 individuals who require medical marijuana.
Who will help the patients who cannot afford these prices? An inflated black market. Of course, this black market will still be handled in a racially charged manner creating minority convictions. These injustices could be avoided by allowing for easier access, affordable prices, and insurance coverage, none of which are included in this bill.
Breaking The Cycle
We are continually taking steps to raise awareness on the truth about New Jersey marijuana legalization. There is no excuse for the prejudice and manipulation that is happening within this new movement. We are demanding lawmakers to care for marijuana patients, to allow for equal and fair expungement, and to include equal opportunity in this emerging workforce.
Join our initiative by reaching out, spreading the message, and engaging in political discussion. We won’t succeed at creating a fair and free cannabis market without your help.