Jersey City, Newark mayors announce support of pot legalization bill

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

Gov. Phil Murphy is pushing hard to get the votes needed to pass legalized marijuana.

A vote is set for Monday, and today the mayors of New Jersey's two largest cities are voicing their support.

Together with Murphy, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka are pushing for decriminalization. Of particular importance to the mayors is expunging low level marijuana convictions.

Baraka and Fulop were among the first to support legalizing the drug, but wanted an expansion to abolish criminal penalties and expunging past convictions.

In a joint statement today, Mayors Fulop and Baraka said in part, "According to the ACLU, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. While we support this legislation, it is with the assurance from our leaders at the state level that they understand that more work must be done. No matter Monday's outcome, our stance still remains that the state must be diligent in creating the mechanism to ensure that the expungement process is automatic for all non-violent cannabis arrests.”

The full Assembly and Senate must approve the measure before it reaches the governor's desk.

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