"Let adults be adults and legalize weed"
The New Jersey Legislature has scheduled a vote on the controversial bill to legalize cannabis for "adult use" on March 25, but it is still unclear whether it will receive enough votes to be passed. adopted. If accepted, Governor Phil Murphy has committed to signing it.
An interview published by the newspaper Northjersey
As a resident of New Jersey, I live in West Orange, I am a woman, an African American and a social justice advocate, and I wholeheartedly support this effort. One of the reasons I chose to settle in New Jersey is the state's long history, which has been a model of sound and progressive politics, and legalization will add to that legacy.
I am known as a partisan of legalization, a position that stems from the fact that I have been using weed since I was young, when I discovered that it was the only medicine that could relieve my period cramps without crippling the rest of my life. As I get older and wiser, I have maintained a healthy relationship with cannabis. I consume today through a vape pen, to relieve headaches caused by glaucoma.
The arrival of medical cannabis has been a great relief to many, but it only addresses a small part of the social illness that prohibition has created.
For a long time we have used the law to imprison individuals, often African American, for minor offenses, for simple possession or for small sales of cannabis. The New Jersey United States Civil Liberties Union has estimated that three times as many blacks are incarcerated than whites, even though blacks and whites consume at similar rates.
The cost of maintaining this incarceration policy is enormous and it is the taxpayers who bear the financial consequences, more than 140 million dollars per year. Imagine what else we could do with this money, even if we keep it in our own pockets ...
Instead of making war on our poor neighborhoods, legalization could also help us rebuild them. The current bill would remove the records of those who have been in our criminal justice system for related offenses and give people who are currently incarcerated the opportunity to have their sentences quashed.
The governor has made equal access to the cannabis industry a top priority in the legalization effort. I applaud this, as a woman who also owns a cannabis business and advocates for better laws.
Jobs, thousands of jobs, can be created, especially in communities where the war on drugs has left many young people without meaningful, full-time jobs. Cannabis is a growing industry. In Colorado, legalization has created more than 18000 full-time jobs. Massachusetts is expected to create nearly 20000. Oregon has created 12500 jobs that have generated 315 millions of dollars in wages.
Being a celebrity doesn't set me apart from the countless adults in our state who just want access to marijuana for their personal use.
For many adults in New Jersey, myself included, the cannabis plant has never been all about getting high. And, this is something lawmakers should remember.
It's about adult consumption, adult treatment, and just adults. And, when we do, what follows will be a positive change in our society.