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New Jersey Legislature Kicks Cannabis Legalization Back to Voters in 2020; Passes Bill to Expunge Low-Level Drug Offenses

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December 16, 2019 – New York, NY – In response to the New Jersey legislature’s passage of a measure (SCR183/ACR840) to put cannabis legalization on the 2020 ballot, as well as a bill to expunge records for low-level drug offenses, Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, issued the following statement:

“Given the legislature’s inability to pass [cannabis] regulation on its own, referring the question to the ballot is at least a way for legislators to begin responding to their constituents, 62% of which support legalization. In addition to putting the question before voters, it’s critical that policymakers also incorporate measures to repair the harms of prohibition in implementing legislation going forward. Expungement of past [cannabis]-related offenses is a key component of that, and it’s encouraging that policymakers are making progress on that front.”

DPA led the most recent efforts in New Jersey (A-4872/S-3195) to legalize and regulate [cannabis] with a focus on repairing prohibition’s harms, which have disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities. The organization was previously successful in passing legislation that created the state’s medical [cannabis] program. DPA has been involved in various efforts to legalize [cannabis] in New Jersey since 2008, when it created the New Solutions Campaign in response to the state’s then-out-of-control prison growth. It has since also successfully led the advocacy efforts to pass both drug free zone reform and bail reform in the state.


About Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance envisions a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies but only for crimes committed against others, and in which the fears, prejudices and punitive prohibitions of today are no more. Our mission is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the autonomy of individuals over their minds and bodies. Learn more at

Matt Sutton, 212-613-8026

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