Drug War Disparities – Tuesday’s Roundup!

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Phil Murphy did an interview with The Record and NorthJersey.com where he was asked about pardoning marijuana offenders, given his efforts to legalize recreational marijuana.

Under a few current proposals, offenders would be able to petition to have prior convictions expunged, but it costs money to hire a lawyer, pay court fees and take the time to go to court. In California, a few district attorneys have been working to automatically expunge or downgrade offenses–within their jurisdictions.

The ACLU is calling for automatic expungement. It seems to me, if you were serious about restorative justice, it would be a no-brainer.

Councilman Kaleem Shabazz said to his mind marijuana showed the failure of the War on Drugs. “We’re talking about the hundreds of thousands of young, African-American, Hispanic men and women, mostly men, who are languishing, sometimes in jails, sometimes with the loss of professional licenses, because they’re arrested with marijuana.

“The mangled lives of these young people who’ve been caught in the justice system, and the disparity and the racism that we unfortunately have to deal with, is something we have to have paramount in the marijuana discussion.”

The governor’s response to this humane proposal? “It’s something that I think is a very fair point. I would not say no to that.”

Charlie Stile at The Record suggests, “Murphy could also call for the creation of a bi-partisan panel of lawmakers, social activists and lawyers to recommend a process to erase past convictions or records of arrests, one that would take effect the same day that the first batch of legal weed is sold.”

Elsewhere in your War on Drugs, local doctors are seeing a “surge” in new medical marijuana patients after the list of approved conditions was expanded, the Press of AC reports.

Elsewhere in wars, Steve Sweeney said he’s holding hearings on the teachers union in light of the sting operation where officials were caught talking about covering up abusive teachers. “It is absolutely unacceptable,” Sweeney said.

For more news from across your region, see below:

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