House candidate Brigid Callahan Harrison announced her support for marijuana legalization Wednesday, calling for the federal government to take point on legalization.
“It is imperative that the federal government take the lead on this issue. Currently, because of varying state laws, over 31,000 New Jerseyans and 660,000 Americans are arrested each year for doing something that many states have legalized,” Harrison said. “Federal, state, and municipal governments invest $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana laws, costing governments about $4390 per arrest, while ten states have legalized marijuana.”
Harrison, a well-known political science professor, has emerged as one of the early front-runners for the Democratic nod to take on Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who defected to the Republican party last year after losing support from rank and file Democrats over his opposition to impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.
Since announcing her bid, Harrison has won endorsements from six of the second district’s eight Democratic county chairs. She also has the backing of Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Her most serious primary opponents are former teacher Amy Kennedy and Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett.
“Arrests for low level marijuana possession have disproportionately decimated the lives of people of color. High levels of incarceration have torn apart families, wreaked havoc on communities, and burdened municipal governments that often are not only charged with enforcing existing drug laws, but then also providing the support for those left behind when a loved one is sent to jail for a low-level drug conviction,” Harrison said. “The implementation of a legalization policy must lead attempt to remedy the injustices that have been perpetrated in the past.”