Ruiz, Scutari pull names from marijuana cleanup bill, back up objections from Legislative Black Caucus

State Sen. Teresa Ruiz and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari have removed their names from a bill to clean up the state’s yet-unsigned legal marijuana enabling legislation after objections from the black and Latino legislators, a move that will delay a vote by the full Senate on Monday.

“I could never lend my name to something that could potentially have unintended consequence that could send more black and brown juveniles into a system that will handcuff them for the rest of their lives,” said Ruiz, who chairs the Senate Education Committee and was first to pull her support for the cleanup bill during a caucus meeting Friday.

The lawmakers object to measures in a cleanup bill advanced by committees in both chambers Friday that would levy fines of up to $250 for possession of six ounces of less of marijuana, or of up to $500 for more than that, on persons ages 18-20 and that would limit police to “curbside warnings” and “stationhouse adjustments” when interacting with minors found in possession of marijuana.

“I stand with the Legislative Black Caucus and Senator (Ronald) Rice,” said Scutari, a 20-year supporter of marijuana legalization.

He said he agrees with Rice that proposed changes to the bill would lead to “more interactions for Black and Brown people with the police.”

Rice on Friday told the New Jersey Globe those…

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State Sen. Teresa Ruiz and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari have removed their names from a bill to clean up the state’s yet-unsigned legal marijuana enabling legislation after objections from the black and Latino legislators, a move that will delay a vote by the full Senate on Monday.

“I could never lend my name to something that could potentially have unintended consequence that could send more black and brown juveniles into a system that will handcuff them for the rest of their lives,” said Ruiz, who chairs the Senate Education Committee and was first to pull her support for the cleanup bill during a caucus meeting Friday.

The lawmakers object to measures in a cleanup bill advanced by committees in both chambers Friday that would levy fines of up to $250 for possession of six ounces of less of marijuana, or of up to $500 for more than that, on persons ages 18-20 and that would limit police to “curbside warnings” and “stationhouse adjustments” when interacting with minors found in possession of marijuana.

“I stand with the Legislative Black Caucus and Senator (Ronald) Rice,” said Scutari, a 20-year supporter of marijuana legalization.

He said he agrees with Rice that proposed changes to the bill would lead to “more interactions for Black and Brown people with the police.”

Rice on Friday told the New Jersey Globe those…

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