Quijano Statement on Expungement Hearing
(TRENTON) – Assembly Judiciary Chairwoman Annette Quijano (D-Union) on Monday’s hearing discussing potential expungement concerns as part of marijuana legalization and decriminalization discussion:
“Today’s discussion was just the beginning of a conversation that must be had before considering legalization of marijuana in New Jersey.
“How do we develop fair, deliberate expungement procedures that will help affected residents through the process, and address financial and other concerns that may arise as a result of a change in law? This is the question that must be answered before we can move forward on legalization.
“A criminal marijuana charge can change a person’s life and impede an individual’s opportunity to access higher education, gainful employment, and housing support. If we are to allow for legal possession and use of marijuana – as many other states have done – then we have to ask ourselves if it is morally just to allow these individuals to continue to carry this scarlet letter – and is it in our best interest as a state.
“Allowing marijuana charges to be expunged is not the silver bullet to solving these discrepancies – or systemic discriminations – in our justice system, but it is an important step towards bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice.”