New Jersey: Free prisoners charged with marijuana possession now that it's legal in state!

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New Jersey voters have overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana. Beginning January 1, it will be completely legal to possess, cultivate and sell marijuana in retail stores.

We are demanding that Governor Murphy release people who are imprisoned for marijuana-related offenses which are now legal. He must act now to save their lives from COVID-19, which continues to spread through our prisons without any signs of stopping.

It’s time to correct this injustice. With the COVID-19 pandemic reaching the highest infection rates since the spring, getting arrested or being imprisoned for marijuana possession is not only unjustifiable – it’s a death sentence.

70% of prisoners who have been tested for COVID-19 have tested positive nationwide! With winter coming around the corner, these numbers are bound to increase. 1,214 prisoners have already died from COVID-19 in prison. That's more than those who have been executed in the last 20 years.

New Jersey is notorious for its disproportionately high rate of marijuana-related arrests. According to the FBI, 35,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession or sales in 2017 alone. Black and Brown people are arrested at four times the rate of white people, even though rates of marijuana use are roughly the same across demographics.

There’s a reason New Jersey voters finally legalized marijuana. It has taken zero lives and killed zero people. The nation is discovering the many health benefits of the herb and recognizing its importance in medical rehabilitation. This is why as of the 2020 election, marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in a total of 15 states plus D.C. and for medical use in 36 states.

Imagine sitting in a prison cell with no control of the air you breathe or who you're near, with a deadly disease circulating in close quarters, and your life at risk every day from the virus...for a crime that's now legal.

These aren't just random people. These are mothers and sons, fathers and daughters separated from their family, some of whom weren't even able to watch their children and loved ones die. And now their lives are at risk too, for a crime that's not even a crime anymore.

All you have to do is show you care. All we have to do is show them we are fighting for their lives and they are not alone and not forgotten.

Governor Murphy, you played a huge part in legalizing marijuana in New Jersey, and on January 1st, the law goes into effect. You’ve also signed Senate Bill 2519, which shortens certain prisoners’ sentences due to COVID-19. It’s time for you to take the next logical step. In a time where there is so much hate and so many problems, here's a solution to two: stop the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, and support progressive criminal justice reform.