July 20, 2018, New Jersey
Politicians and policymakers are finally coming to the term of devastation brought upon by the War on Drugs. The color community has particularly borne the most brunt of this disproportionate war on drugs. To rectify the damages caused by the war on drugs, many local administrations are in the process of decriminalizing cannabis.
In a recent development, Jersey City, the second most populous city of New Jersey, has announced the decriminalization of possession and use of cannabis. Steven Fulop, the city mayor, has said in a statement that the measure has been taken to address the injustice done to the color community and to all those people who have been economically suffering because of cannabis-related prosecutions.
Decriminalization went into effect from yesterday. As per the new policy, municipal prosecutors will have the right to ask for a non-criminal disposition for minor marijuana offenses. Fulop and newly incumbent chief municipal prosecutor Jake Hudnut are leading the way in making decriminalization effective as possible.
It is important to note that Hudnut has served as a criminal defense attorney. He also ran for a city council last year but failed to secure the seat. In his campaign, he extensively talked about racial prejudice begotten by the drug enforcement policy. With one of his first work as a chief municipal officer, Hudnut has proved that he still adheres to its views regarding drug enforcement and racial inequalities.
Hudnut says that it is important to address such injustices in the large and diverse metropolitan like Jersey City where many different communities are coexisting. He has also asserted that there is no point in prosecuting people on the possession of a commodity that is on the verge of legalization. In addition, no violent criminal actions are associated with cannabis possession in most of the cases.
Mayor Fulop is hopeful that the city’s new drug policy will help the administration to reduce its law enforcement expenditure. He is also pleased to have a municipal prosecutor on his team who is proactive in making decriminalization effective. As per the memo sent out by Hudnut to all the prosecutors in the wake of the proclamation of decriminalization, there are five offenses that won’t be regarded as the crime anymore.
- Possession of cannabis
- Possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle
- Being under the influence of the strain
- Standing and waiting at some public place to obtain the drug
- Possession with the intent of using the strain in paraphernalia
Hudnut wants all of the city prosecutors to acknowledge that color community has been more affected by cannabis prosecutions. According to the letter sent by Hudnut, Colored New Jerseyans are three times more likely to get arrested and prosecuted for cannabis as compared to the white population of the city. He, therefore, asks the prosecutors to have this thing in their conscious when supervising any marijuana-related prosecution.
People convicted for even minor cannabis offenses have to face many difficulties in their everyday life. From revoked driving licenses to face rejection for student loans, a plethora of difficulties come along with cannabis-related convictions.
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