Jersey City, New Jersey is decriminalizing the use and possession of marijuana with a brand new coverage for prosecutors that begins in the present day. Mayor Steven Fulop stated in a press release that the change will serve to redress injustices of the War on Drugs.
“The fact is, marijuana arrests and prosecutions in New Jersey, and around the nation, point to severe inequalities that negatively impact people of color disproportionately, and lead to long-term economic challenges for anyone who finds themselves prosecuted for possession,” Fulop stated.
“We are working to correct this with our new policy in a proactive way, and I am proud that we will be the first in the state to do so,” he added.
New Policy Begins Today
Under the plan adopted by the town, municipal prosecutors shall be inspired to search a non-criminal disposition for a number of low-level hashish offenses. The coverage was spearheaded by Fulop and new chief municipal prosecutor Jake Hudnut, who took over the place on July 2.
Hudnut, a former legal protection lawyer, ran an unsuccessful bid for a metropolis council seat final yr. During that marketing campaign, he made the racial injustice of drug enforcement coverage a problem within the race. The prosecutor repeated that theme on Wednesday.
“In a city as large, diverse, and progressive as Jersey City, we are poised to take action and address this injustice,” Hudnut stated.
“We will not contribute to the racially disparate and costly prosecution of a nonviolent offense that is on the verge of legalization amid widespread public support,” he continued. “We have seen similar policies enacted with success across the country, and I am confident in our ability to join this conversation in a productive and positive way.”
Mayor Fulop praised the brand new prosecutor for a coverage that may preserve metropolis assets whereas higher serving the pursuit of justice.
“It’s probably the first time the city has had a prosecutor that has been really proactive thinking about policies and how they really impact the entire city,” Fulop stated.
Five Offenses No Longer Charged As Crimes
In a memo despatched on July 19, Hudnut instructed prosecutors to dismiss or amend costs for 5 cannabis-related offenses to a non-criminal disposition. The offenses are possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana whereas in a motorcar; being underneath the affect of marijuana, use or possession with intent to use marijuana drug paraphernalia, and loitering to get hold of or distribute a managed harmful substance.
People of Color Charged More Often
In his letter to prosecutors, Hudnut famous the various social penalties of a drug conviction, together with suspended drivers licenses and ineligibility for scholar monetary assist and public housing. With clear proof of ongoing injustice, he stated on Wednesday that policymakers have an obligation to handle the racial bias within the felony justice system.
“What gives me pause is that despite similar cross-racial usage of marijuana, New Jerseyans of color are three times more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for marijuana than white New Jerseyans,” Hudnut stated. “I think prosecutors have an obligation to acknowledge this and fix this problem.”