The Controversy Over Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

Steve Adubato is joined by Senator Ronald L. Rice (D) - NJ to examine the controversy over legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey and the obstacles preventing the bill from moving forward.

6/29/19 #313






"We are honored to be joined by one of the senior members of the Senate in New Jersey. Going on 34 years in the Legislature? That's correct. You still loving it? I'm doing the people's business. That's... You have to love that. Yeah. Well, we're gonna get into people's business right now. Ron Rice is a senator that represents the 28th Legislative District. Largely in Newark? But not exclusively? No. Parts of Newark, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Nutley, and Irvington. A complex district? Yes. Interesting. Let's get right into it. You are not in favor, Senator, of the legalization of recreational marijuana? But rather say... Yeah. ...we need to decriminalize marijuana? Make the case. Well the case is very simple. When you decriminalize, it means that you no longer have a record for a criminal offense, therefore you can still get employment and raise your family and do good things. And hopefully, wean off and go in a positive direction. Legalization is about making money. Which is interesting, by the way, is that the governor supported, and the Senate President supported, legalization... we're not gonna do legalization right now. We're not? We're not. Is it going on the 2020 ballot where people...? It's supposed to go on a ballot. ...are gonna decide? Voters? Yes. It's going on a ballot. But what the public needs to understand, particularly the African-American community, is that it was sold to them, this legalization of recreational marijuana, under the auspices of social justice. In other words, they were saying that black folks were being arrested three times greater than whites, for the same use of marijuana, the same small amount. Which is true? Which is true. And it's unjust. And therefore, they wanted to "help" - quote unquote - black folks and brown people by making sure we decriminalize, and not make it a criminal offense. In the white community, the way they sold it on the ballot, to get people to support it, was that by "decriminalizing it" - quote unquote, you save $140,000,000 of revenue. Now they're coming back and saying to those of us in the Legislature, and to the public, the subliminal message to me, or at least my interpretation of subliminal message, is that we don't care about the $140,000,000... That's... hold on. That's revenue that would... Yes. ...come into the state if marijuana was legalized? That's revenue that would be saved... Saved? decriminalizing. By decrim... okay. Because of the cost it... Okay. Got it. ...takes to incarcerate and to arrest. Okay? Go ahead. Now that we're not passing legalization, that's why I always said it was all about money, not about social justice. Now we're not legalizing recreational marijuana, what the Senate President and the governor's saying is that, "Then we..."