New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gained power with the promise to legalize cannabis. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, since Governor Murphy took power arrests for cannabis have only gone up.
The ACLU-NJ did comparison research between cannabis arrests in 2013 and those in 2017. The report shows things have only gotten worse since Murphy took office. In 2013, there were 27,923. In 2017, that number reached a staggering 37,623. That’s a nearly 35% increase. In 2017, 95 people were arrested everyday for possession of cannabis in New Jersey. That’s nearly 600 every week.
Some counties within New Jersey far surpass the highest racial disparities of arrests nationwide. In Hunterdon County, African-Americas were 11 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis. In Ocean County, they are 7 times more likely and in Salem County they are six times more likely to be arrested.
Let’s talk about the cost for a moment. In 2010, the ACLU showed the cost of enforcing cannabis possession laws in New Jersey was over $125 Million. That cost has only dramatically risen in line with the increased incarcerations. This number doesn’t even include the cost to house and feed these prisoners.
And the arrests are ridiculous. Governor Phil Murphy is systematically destroying the lives of families in New Jersey. Take the case of Eric Fiorito from Hopatcong in New Jersey. He’s 52 years old, a cancer patient who suffers with advanced diabetes. He was arrested for selling his neighbor an edible. I kid you not!!
Mr. Fiorito was the first person in the state to receive a medical marijuana card because of his health and now he’ll be spending the next ten years in prison. If he lives that long.
The Sussex County Narcotic Task Force lead a multi-month investigation into Mr. Fiorito. Think of the cost that went into arresting this sick dying man. They arrested his son and wife too. They’ve ruined an entire family…why?
Because Governor Phil Murphy hasn’t fulfilled his promise to legalize cannabis in the state of New Jersey. We need real leadership not a mouthpiece with a megaphone.