Cannabis activists Ricardo Rivera and Chris Goldstein have lobbied the city of Camden, NJ to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis. But, they say the wishes of the community are being ignored. Now the pair will hold a rally at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March. 14, outside Camden City Hall.
Rivera runs the Tuffy’s Fight foundation named after his daughter Tatyana “Tuffy” Rivera, who is a medical marijuana patient in New Jersey. She suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called LGS as well as autism and as this video illustrates, cannabis is the only medication from which she has ever found relief.
Goldstein is one of three people credited with convincing Philadelphia’s City Council to take up a measure decriminalizing minor marijuana possession in 2014.
“Medical cannabis patients are still being arrested,” Rivera said. “These laws are aimed at people of color. Blacks are four times more likely to be arrested for small amounts of cannabis than Caucasians despite the usage being about the same,” Rivera told Elevated Nation.
“It is our responsibility as the cannabis community to stop this.”
The arguments for Camden to decriminalize are the same as were made in Philadelphia and other major cities, such as Washington DC. “These absurd laws have resulted in thousands of arrests per year, making it difficult for the violator to find good employment and also breaking families apart due to jail time,” Rivera and Goldstein say in an online petition. “Instead of the police officer wasting his or her time booking someone for violating this unfair and unjust law, the officer can issue a ticket similar to a traffic fine. Let’s allow our police to focus on violent crimes and stop arresting nonviolent offenders.”
We contacted the Camden County Police Department and the office of Mayor Dana Redd for their opinions on decriminalization of minor marijuana possession in Camden. Neither have yet responded.