Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker took to Twitter on Wednesday, calling the government's war on drugs a failure that unfairly targets the black population. His pointed criticism comes one day after New Jersey advanced a bill to decriminalize marijuana. If it passes, a person caught with 15 grams of pot or less would only face a $150 fine.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has not said whether he will support the bill.
While Booker did not directly address the legislation, the outspoken Democratic mayor set off a lively discussion when he tweeted a Patch article about a program that lets nonviolent drug offenders choose treatment over jail time.
Booker extolled the benefits of addiction treatment over incarceration, saying the drug war was costing billions and destroying lives. He lamented the high percentage of blacks in New Jersey's prisons, writing that they make up 60 percent of the jail population, despite being 15 percent of the state's population.
He also expressed his support of medical marijuana, writing that the state should "do more to make it real for those who need it."
Read some of the conversation below:
I fear legalizing it all would lead 2 more addiction RT @msupolitical: last thing I want is giving more power 2 govt. legalize it all period
However, I'm with you on medical marijuana. And NJ should do more to make it real for those who need it
Drug war is a failure costing billions of tax dollars annually AND destroying lives, plus it has a glaring racial component @LibProgressive
In NJ blacks are about 15% of population but over 60% of prison population and DRUGS fuels much of the incarceration @LibProgressive
So yes we need to radically change the conversation from INCARCERATION to what will really end this national nightmare. @LibProgressive
I see this sad reality everyday MT @SeanMP711: NJ wastes $$ incarcerating people 4 victimless crimes/system gets a u & it's hard 2 get out
Read: "The New Jim Crow". RT @DrButz Blacks do not constitute 60% of drug users so why the disparity? Law enforcement focuses black areas?
It can't be only about a blame game. In the end, we have the key choice. Accept things as they are or take responsibility 4 changing them