TRENTON — A report by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey shows marijuana-related arrests jumped about 35% over a four-year period ending in 2017.

The ACLU-NJ published the data — based on FBI crime figure — on Friday. It showed nearly 38,000 arrests for cannabis possession, distribution or both in 2017, up from about 28,000 in 2013.

The ACLU advocates recreational marijuana legalization in New Jersey.

The Democratic leaders of the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy support legalization. But the effort has stalled among rank-and-file lawmakers.

The report looked at recently available data from 2017 and compared it with the last time the ACLU did a similar report in 2017, which used 2013 data.

A message seeking an explanation for the uptick was left with the state attorney general.

The ACLU found that in Hunterdon County, black people were eleven times more likely to be arrested than white people for marijuana possession. The county has just over 3,400 black residents.

In Ocean County, where black residents account for 3% of the population, black people were seven times more likely to be arrested than whites for marijuana possession.

In Salem County, where black residents make up just under 13% of the population, black arrests for marijuana were six times higher than white arrests.


Six counties had the both the highest number of arrests as well as the highest arrest rates for marijuana, the ACLU found.


(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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