Newark Mayor: "NJ Drug Policy Targets Black Men"

By McCarton Ackerman 05/25/12

Cory Booker takes to Twitter to voice his frustration on racial inequalities in New Jersey.

Cory Booker takes a stand. Photo via

New Jersey has a great line in outspoken politicians right now. Newark mayor Cory Booker—who first made national headlines this year for rescuing a neighbor's daughter from their burning home—has come out and said that the drug policies in his state unfairly target black men. His comment was made in response to a proposed state bill to make possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana punishable by a $150 fine instead of jail time. When there was uncharacteristically no response from New Jersey's high-profile Governor Chris Christie—who advocates mandatory rehab for nonviolent offenders—Booker took to his Twitter page to sound off. "In NJ blacks are about 15% of population but over 60% of prison population and DRUGS fuels much of the incarceration," he wrote to one of his followers. "So yes we need to radically change the conversation from INCARCERATION to what will really end this national nightmare." And while Booker doesn't advocate the legalization of all drugs, he supports medical marijuana. "I fear legalizing it all would lead 2 more addiction," he tweeted to another follower. "Last thing I want is giving more power 2 govt. But I'm with you on medical marijuana. And NJ should do more to make it real for those who need it." According to Republican State Senator Christopher "Kip" Bateman, it costs about $343 million a year to house the Garden State’s 7,000 nonviolent drug offenders.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.