The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved the measure, A-1465, by a 7-0 vote
A young Afro-American man was walking alone on 115th Street in New York City. It was 3:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and a great time to be alone with one’s thoughts. As the young man turned the corner, he came upon two police officers. The officers stopped him and asked for identification. Unfortunately, his wallet was on the desk in his Columbia University dormitory room.
The two officers shoved him against a tree and frisked him. They found a couple of marijuana joints, less than 15 grams of pot. He was arrested, booked, and put in a holding cell. After spending Sunday in jail, he was taken before a judge and released on Monday, ROR. President Obama remembers this incident like it was yesterday.*
The Statement appended to A-1465
[Click on image to enlarge]
The bill’s 18 sponsors include Democrats and Republicans.
“I can’t remember the last time a coalition such as this has … been put together,” said Assemblyman Peter Barnes III, D-Middlesex, the committee chair and a sponsor.
Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris, also a sponsor, said it might be time to rewrite laws setting drug policy.
“Some acts harm society, and they warrant the intervention of police, prosecutors, and perhaps even incarceration,” he said. “Other acts warrant, at best, a spanking.”
“The harm to society, if it exists at all, is de minimis” in these possession cases, added Carroll, who, like Barnes, is an attorney.
Union City attorney Regino De La Cruz said that in his 25 years of handling workers’ compensation, auto-accident and personal-injury cases, “not once have I come across a case where somebody got hurt [because] the person who did the injuring … was on marijuana,” or a case where someone was hurt at work because of marijuana intoxication.
Also testifying in support of A-1465 were the American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey, the Drug Policy Alliance, the United Way, the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice and retired Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Barnett Hoffman, former chair of the New Jersey Sentencing Commission [via N.J. Law Journal].
The only opponent was Bruce Hummer of the New Jersey Prevention Network, who said the measure exposes youths to danger because it “implies that 15 grams of marijuana is a small amount.”
The N.J. Assembly Blue Team and Red Team seem to be showing each other some cross the aisle love. What awaits in the Senate, and in the governor’s office? Christie declined to comment.