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Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli (D-3) summoned Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to the microphone to testify on bills impacting the recreational legalization of marijuana.
Baraka went forward in the statehouse committee room.
“I’m not here to discuss pro or con around this bill,” Baraka said.
He just wants the bill to superceed what is happening in California and Montana.
In essence, the mayor wants to lessen the burden of those seeking expungement.
It’s an expensive and large undertaking, he noted.
“The onus should not be on individuals but should be put on the state itself,” Baraka said. “It is highly hypocritical to say we are going to legalize marijuana and ‘you have to stay in jail.'”
The mayor described individuals incarcerated for marijuana possession or distribution as “victimized.”
“Anything related to marijuana in a nonviolent way should be removed,” he told the appropriations committee.