New Jersey Marijuana Arrests Increase
Even as cannabis becomes more widely accepted in the state of New Jersey, with politicians and state officials introducing initiaitives to legalize, marijuna arrests have increased in the state. In 2012-13, marijuana related "crimes" accounted for 10 percent of arrests, with 24,765 arrests made for possessing small amounts. Currently, marijuana related arrests have jumped 10 percent more.
Udi Ofer, executive director of the state's ACLU chapter, stated about the increase that he doubts "anyone knows the exact answer, but it's a point of concern. . . . It coincides with a governor who has taken an incredibly harsh tone on marijuana use."
Chris Goldstein, board member of PhillyNORML, sees Christie as a lead promoter of marijuana prohibition, stated, "Christie is the most vocal marijuana prohibitionist in America right now. . . . His rhetoric obviously hasn't been lost on the police captains of New Jersey."
It is believed that the increase in cannabis related arrests since 2012 is indicative of Chris Christie's presidential bid as the country continues to sway more in favor of legalization. He is concerned that marijuana causes addiction problems and may fall into the hands of children. Offer and others like Richard Smith, head of the New Jersey State NAACP, feel that the ramifications of marijuana arrests, such as the six months imprisonment or up to $1,000 fine, are more debilitating than the actual drug. While Christie plans to veto any bill to legalize, supporters claim that studies show that marijuana is safer than alcohol and if legalized for adult use, it would allow law enforcement to focus on preventing children from obtaining it rather than imprisoning those for possession.