CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — The City of Camden is taking the lead in the effort to decriminalize marijuana in New Jersey, and lawmakers are looking to Philadelphia for inspiration.
The City of Camden created an ad hoc committee of administration officials from the health department, law department and other agencies to come up with findings about why marijuana should be decriminalized and will pass it on to New Jersey lawmakers.
“Young people can get arrested and serve one to five years in prison and that kills their future,” said Camden City Councilman Angel Fuentes who supports the initiative.
Each year, hundreds are arrested for marijuana possession in Camden, tens of thousands across the state; with African-Americans twice as likely to get caught.
Fuentes is wants other municipalities follow suit.
“Newark, Jersey City, Atlantic City, Pleasantville,” he said.
Fuentes is hoping the findings are complete next month and can go to lawmakers in the fall.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana that Governor Chris Christie has promised to veto.
“I think it’s time we should not be behind the eight ball,” he said.
Fuentes says the push will continue after Christie leaves office.