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May 9, 2016

There may be talk of legalizing marijuana in the western United States. But here in New Jersey, our police are actively arresting people for marijuana possession, according to the most recent Uniform Crime Report -- with 24,689 people busted in the state in 2014.

The New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union released a statement from Clark Municipal Prosecutor J.H. Barr that said “When I look at the nearly 25,000 marijuana possession arrests in 2014, I see nearly 25,000 missed opportunities for law enforcement to have done work that actually keeps people safe.” Barr is on the steering committee of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform.

Police made more arrests for marijuana than for any other crime that year, and the group, which includes the ACLU, is advocating instead for legalization and taxation.

"Behind every one of the 24,689 arrests in 2014 is a person whose life has been interrupted and often damaged from the consequences our criminal justice system imposes for a marijuana arrest,” said ACLU-NJ Public Policy Director Ari Rosmarin. "It's not often that the Legislature has an opportunity to improve people's lives, raise hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenue, and end a civil rights injustice all in one vote, but that's exactly what marijuana legalization would mean."

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