ACLU: NJ marijuana arrests jump about 35% over 4 years

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A report by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey shows marijuana-related arrests jumped about 35% over a four-year period ending in 2017.

The ACLU-NJ published the data - based on FBI crime figure - on Friday. It showed nearly 38,000 arrests for cannabis possession, distribution or both in 2017, up from about 28,000 in 2013.

The ACLU advocates recreational marijuana legalization in New Jersey.

"Our law enforcement is spending a lot of time making arrests for marijuana possession, and polls have shown and studies have shown in New Jersey that the majority of our state really believes in and supports the legalization of marijuana,” ACLU New Jersey policy director Sarah Fajardo says.

The Democratic leaders of the state Legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy say that they support legalization. But the effort has stalled among rank-and-file lawmakers. The issue of recreational legalization is expected to be on the 2020 ballot.

The ACLU report looked at recently available data from 2017 and compared it with the last time the ACLU did a similar report in 2017, which used 2013 data.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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