Rice on His State Budget Stance: NO DECRIMINALIZATION/NO JUSTICE – NO VOTE

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TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice today released the following statement regarding his stand on the New Jersey State Budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020:

“When it comes to principles, everyone has a bottom line.  And when it comes to the budget vote, my bottom line has everything to do with the decriminalization of recreational marijuana:

“No decriminalization/no justice – no vote.

“After two years of listening to noise from the governor and legislative leadership about how legalizing marijuana would correct social injustice, I draw my line in the sand:

“No decriminalization/no justice – no vote.

“After two years of feigned concern from state leadership and legislators about unfair arrests and convictions for people with small amount offenses – mostly black and brown, mostly poor New Jerseyans – I refuse to excuse the charade.  As long as we have black and brown people in jail at a rate three times greater than whites who commit the same marijuana violations, I will not vote for a budget that asks my opinion on a millionaire’s tax or pensions for union workers.

“Governor Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney tried to sell legislation to legalize recreational marijuana to black and brown people under the pretense of “social justice.”  They tried to pitch it to middle class and wealthy whites by repackaging the $140 million saved through the elimination of marijuana-related judicial costs and dangling it as property tax relief.

“Luckily, the majority of my fellow legislators in Trenton saw the power