GUTTENBERG, NJ (APRIL 20, 2019)--It’s not 1936 anymore. That’s the year “Reefer Madness”, an American propaganda film vastly exaggerating the harmful effects of marijuana was released. This film compared using marijuana to a hit and run accident, a manslaughter, a suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations and a descent into madness due to “marijuana addiction”. The year is now 2019, there is now a much broader understanding of this ancient natural plant. Not only do people today know that all those harmful claims made about marijuana were vastly exaggerated, but the racist criminal industrial complex created by its enforcement has left a terrible stain on our country. The Quesada Mahmoud campaign fully supports the legalization of the marijuana plant, both recreational and medical, and we must remediate our mistakes with criminal expungements and investment in helping people of color start cannabis businesses.
New Jersey arrests more people for “weed” than almost any other state. In fact, NJ cops are the nation’s toughest weed enforcers. Marijauna possession accounted for nearly 11% of all arrests made by NJ cops in 2016. A report from 2017 showed that police made a marijuana possession arrest in NJ every 22 minutes. Another recently published analysis of marijuana arrest data shows that in 2016 New Jersey was third in the nation in total marijuana arrests — after Texas and New York — and second only to Wyoming in marijuana arrest rate. In 2016, 35,700 people were arrested in New Jersey for either marijuana possession or distribution, according to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. Arrests are expensive too, costing the state over $127 million. The Quesada Mahmoud campaign is appalled by these figures, especially knowing that of those arrests, people of color are almost 3 times more likely to be arrested despite using at the same rate as a white person.
The Quesada Mahmoud campaign believes in passing legislation that will eliminate employers from forcing mandatory drug testing as a precursor to employment, as well as banning the box – meaning individuals do not have to provide that they were previously incarcerated. These draconian laws disproportionately affect men of color and it’s time to ban these laws that perpetuate a cycle of poverty.
Legal weed also has wide support among all age groups in NJ. Despite all this, on March 25, 2019, the vote to legalize marijuana was canceled after a lack of support. Many of our assemblymen/women and our senators remain “undecided”. We were shocked to see that not only did our two LD32 assemblyman/woman, Angelica Jimenez and Pedro Mejia, remain undecided, but so did our senator, Nicholas Sacco. Clearly, these democrats are not representing the actual will of the people, and the Quesada Mahmoud campaign are committed to doing just that.
In response, our governor, Phil Murphy, had this to say “History is rarely made at the first attempt, but eventually barriers do fall to those who are committed to breaking them down.” We couldn’t agree more. We also insist to be part of the next attempt. This important racial and criminal justice issue will be one of the key issues we tackle in our campaign, because the Quesada Mahmoud campaign is committed to justice, fairness and transparency.
Election day for the democratic primary is Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
published gloucestercitynews.net | April 22, 2019