Fulop joins Baraka in calling for expunging marijuana convictions, lifting jail sentences


Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop is joining Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in calling on the state legislature to reform marijuana laws so that related convictions could be expunged and jail sentences could be lifted. 

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka swearing in Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who is pictured with his wife Jaclyn, for his second term.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Let me be the first to say I stand with @rasjbaraka on this,” Fulop tweeted in response to a Baraka press release on social justice reforms pertaining to marijuana.

“The state of NJ needs #Newark , #JerseyCity and urban mayors to be fully engaged to meet their state projections. These provisions outlined here are important to us to move 4ward. Period.”

Baraka’s release came in light of him sending a letter to the NJ Urban Mayors’ Association urging them to join him in calling on the state legislature to reform marijuana laws.

In addition to expungement and lifting jail sentences, the Newark mayor also wants New Jersey to allow individuals with prior cannabis convictions to be able to obtain licenses, as well as allowing social impact zones to be licensed to sell marijuana legally.

Responding to an email from Hudson County View, Fulop provided further insight on why he supports Baraka in this endeavor.

“Ras and I have been discussing Newark and Jersey City’s priorities for months so that we are totally aligned and that we stand together,” he began.

“We feel strongly that the social justice component needs to be sincere and done properly while at the same time the that home rule should be a priority with host municipalities standing to clearly benefit with set percentages to reinvest in their communities and the ability to have more input on licenses.”

Fulop added that he and Baraka feel like that “haven’t been adequately brought into the conversation” on marijuana legalization yet, despite the fact that they will both likely ended up hosting legitimate marijuana businesses in their cities.

The Jersey City mayor explained why he was in favor of legalizing marijuana back at a Ward F community meeting in February and was also pushed for enacting a new Jersey City policy to decriminalize marijuana.

While New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal quickly pumped the brakes on that idea, he said in a memo yesterday that municipal and prosecutors should “exercise prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis.”

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