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State Sen. Gerald Cardinale. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Cardinale seeks to monitor racial bias in weed arrests

By David Wildstein, April 10 2019 4:11 pm

State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) says he will sponsor legislation to monitor disparate treatment of minorities charged with marijuana possession.

The Bergen County Republican said that he stands firmly with State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark) in his belief that legalization of marijuana has “led to a greater proportion of minority incarcerations” in states like California and Washington.

“It should raise concern that if New Jersey goes down the same path, we will have a similar result. If we are serious about eliminating racial bias from our justice system we must get at the source,” Cardinale said.  “Some say it’s biased prosecutors, other blame biased judges. The Governor and Senate control who become Prosecutors and Judges, so if we tighten up our evaluation of those being considered, we have it in our purview to remedy the problem.”

Cardinale has asked Gov. Phil Murphy and the Senate and Assembly leadership to reconsider legalizing recreational marijuana and  focus on criminal justice reform that eliminates racial bias.

“We need to work together for common sense legislation that serves our New Jersey residents, not make marijuana millionaires,” said Cardinale.

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