The mayors of New Jersey’s two biggest towns won’t allow marijuana dispensaries in their cities unless they are happy with how the legalization bill addresses previous weed convictions.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop joined a handful of other town leaders from across the state Wednesday to call for stronger social justice provisions if legal weed were to come to New Jersey.
“It has to be changed in order for us to move forward,” Baraka said of the legalization bill, citing “deep-seated inequalities” in the current version. The mayor bemoaned people making millions of dollars off of marijuana if it’s legalized, while others would still be dealing with the ramifications of marijuana convictions.
Baraka called for the “automatic and immediate” expungement of marijuana possession and distribution convictions for amounts up to 50 grams, just shy of 2 ounces. That goes beyond what’s been proposed so far.
“We will have a hard time supporting legalization without expungement,” Fulop said.
On the issue of expungements — which means wiping away past convictions from someone’s criminal record — the two mayors have friends both in the governor’s mansion and at the State House. [Read more at NJ.com]