While playing for the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets) from 2005 to 2007, Cliff Robinson saw first hand that the failures of cannabis prohibition in New Jersey. Cannabis prohibition has a disproportionate impact on New Jersey’s African American community. Arrest data shows that African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for cannabis in New Jersey compared to Caucasians.
In some parts of New Jersey, the disparity is even greater. In Pleasant Beach, New Jersey African Americans are 31.8 times as likely to be arrested for cannabis. That is obviously unacceptable. No one should be arrested for possessing and/or consuming a plant that has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol. It is beyond time that New Jersey got on the right side of history and ended cannabis prohibition. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, such a move would have strong support from New Jersey voters. Per the poll:
Garden State voters support 59 – 38 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Every listed group supports legalized marijuana, except Republicans, who are opposed 53 – 43 percent, and voters over 65 years old, who are divided, with 47 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed.
The biggest hurdle to legalization in New Jersey is its Governor, Chris Christie. Fortunately Chris Christie is on his way out of office, and a new person will be leading New Jersey after the 2018 election. As it stands right now, the front runner to succeed Governor Christie is candidate Phil Murphy. Democrat Phil Murphy has a 25 point lead over his Republican rival New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno according to the previously mentioned Quinnipiac poll. How does candidate Phil Murphy feel about cannabis reform? Per a recent NJ.com article:
Murphy promises to join states like Colorado that have legalized recreational use of pot. In fact, it’s part of how he plans to shore up a $1.3 billion tax hike in the state to help pay for all sorts of state spending programs he’s promised on the campaign trail.
For the record, candidate Kim Guadagno does not support legalization. A lot of time is left between now and Election Day, so it’s still anyone’s race despite Murphy’s enormous lead. But the recent poll results showing strong support for legalization, and the expressed desire to end cannabis prohibition by the upcoming election’s front runner is extremely encouraging. The Uncle Cliffy team is hopeful that legalization comes to New Jersey sooner rather than later. Free the plant!