CAMDEN, NJ On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, at 2 p.m., members of the New Jersey Libertarian Party will assemble at the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden to urge citizens to oppose New Jersey’s drug and prostitution “loitering” laws.
“Unfortunately, one does not have to actually buy or sell illegal drugs to be arrested under New Jersey’s drug laws,” said NJLP Chairman Jay Edgar. “Camden Police strictly enforce state ‘loitering’ laws1 that make it illegal for people to ‘remain or prowl’ in public places and conduct themselves in a manner that might lead police to believe that they’re trying ‘to obtain or distribute a controlled dangerous substance’ or ‘engage in prostitution’."
“One of the things that might lead an officer to believe that these "loitering" laws are being violated is repeatedly stopping pedestrians in a public place and speaking with them,” said Edgar. “Ironically, we could be violating these laws by urging people to oppose them.”
“These laws show how far the government has taken its misguided wars on drugs and prostitution,” he said.
The New Jersey Libertarian Party's Preempted Ordinance Project has successfully had local loitering ordinances repealed in over 30 towns. See http://njlp.org/loitering. Local loitering ordinances have been illegal in NJ since 1979, however the drug and prostitution loitering laws were codified into state law in 1991. Repealing these laws, or at least curtailing their abuse, is a special challenge for the New Jersey Libertarian Party.