Bethany Baptist Church Lecture Committee and Drug Policy Alliance to Host Forum on Marijuana Legalization and Racial Justice

Press Release January 29, 2018
Media Contact

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

Newark, NJ—On Thursday, February 1st, the Bethany Baptist Church Lecture Committee and Drug Policy Alliance will host, “What’s at Stake? Why Marijuana Legalization is a Racial Justice Issue,” at 7:00 pm at Bethany Baptist Church (275 W. Market Street, Newark, NJ 07103).

As the political debate around marijuana legalization heats up in New Jersey, the forum will focus why legislation to legalize marijuana in New Jersey must be fair and equitable and must repair past harms to communities of color.

“Marijuana legalization is a moral issue,” said Pastor Timothy L. Jones of Bethany Baptist Church. “Marijuana enforcement has devastated families and communities, especially here in Newark, and it is important that any effort to legalize marijuana includes provisions to right these wrongs and repair the harms of the War on Drugs. People of color must not be left behind in efforts to legalize marijuana.”

Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, agrees, “Until recently, with the passage of Proposition 64 in California, marijuana legalization initiatives have not gone far enough to repair the harms of marijuana prohibition. What we’ve seen in California is what we want to replicate here in New Jersey. Legalization legislation in New Jersey must include automatic and retroactive expungement and resentencing, meaningful access to the marijuana industry for people of color, including those with prior convictions, and investment of the tax revenue generated into those communities most harmed by marijuana prohibition.”

The forum will be facilitated by James Eaddy, a local organizer from Irvington, NJ. Panelists include:

Bethany Baptist Church is a historic church in Newark, New Jersey. Bethany’s church organizations are committed to being students of Christ who use their understanding to make meaningful, transformative changes in their own lives, their homes, their neighborhoods, cities and the world.

The New Solutions Campaign of the Drug Policy Alliance has advocated for criminal justice reforms in New Jersey for nearly a decade. Fair and equitable marijuana legalization is the next initiative in its campaign to reform New Jersey’s broken criminal justice system.

RELATED: Marijuana Legalization Must Be Fair and Equitable (DPA VIDEO)

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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