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Sweeney, Scutari, Ruiz: Cannabis Revenue Must Go to Impacted Communities

TRENTON: Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Nicholas Scutari, who sponsored the constitutional amendment legalizing adult-use marijuana, and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, chief sponsor of the decriminalization legislation, today issued the following statement:

“Legalizing adult-use marijuana and wiping out current and prior penalties for possession are important first steps in healing the damage done by the misguided ‘War on Drugs’ that disproportionately targeted Black and Latinx communities. But it is just a start, and much more needs to be done, as we heard today in powerful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and in previous hearings, roundtables and forums.

“For that reason, we are announcing today that all state revenue from legalized adult-use cannabis should be dedicated to impacted communities to reverse the harmful effects of systemic racism in our criminal justice system, from arrest to sentencing to incarceration. Those drug laws, with their mandatory minimum sentences, destroyed the lives of too many people of color, and we need to ensure that those new revenues are dedicated where they can do the most good to revitalize our communities.

“To further protect this revenue flow, we should not touch the voter-approved tax schedule. We should not impose any additional taxes that will put the cost of legally purchasing marijuana out of reach for the communities that have been impacted the most.