“Marijuana prohibition has resulted in decades of discrimination against black and Hispanic residents who are far more likely to be arrested for petty drug offenses, damaging millions of lives and wasting police resources in the process,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “It’s time for our state to embrace legalizing marijuana as an issue of both social justice and economic opportunity. I understand that this is a controversial topic and some will not agree, but I hope that our state will embrace this progressive issue and finish the job of legalizing marijuana.”
The state Senate and Assembly are expected to vote on a bill next week. Mayor Venezia led a community meeting on Monday night where residents could express their views on the legalization, as well as learn the facts about THC, and how the outdated enforcement laws have led to a disproportionate number of black and Hispanic residents incarcerated for using the substance. Mayor Venezia said he supports legalization and record expungement for non-violent offenders whose lives have been negatively impacted for possession of marijuana.