Murphy’s marijuana order follows shifting trends in ‘War on Drugs’

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NEWARK -

Gov. Phil Murphy is vowing to legalize recreational marijuana and continue a shift toward more rehab and less prison time for drug offenders.

Rehabilitation for drug addicts is something that former Gov. Chris Christie focused heavily on for his final year in office. Christie set up a hotline for opioid addicts to get help and launched a series of commercials aimed at getting addicts and their families help.

But many say that these commercials and programs are a big change from the War on Drugs from 20 years ago when the approach was more about jailing and punishing drug users.

“Watching it destroy my family alone, there was never really any help for it then,” says Middy Murdock who heads up the Newark Street Academy. “There’s help now. Why? Because it’s reaching suburban neighborhoods?”

Murdock is a reformed gang member, but he now works to get high school dropouts back on track. Many of their families are affected by drug addiction.

“My whole life is to build back what I helped destroy,” he says.

Murdock says that the shift from punishing drug users to helping them doesn’t make him angry. But he says that he does see the unfairness.

“It’s affecting their own people now. It wasn't an issue when it was affecting just black and brown people,” he says.

Murdock says that the only thing to do now is to move forward. He says that he will continue to help kids affected by drugs and hopes others will do the same.

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