TRENTON, N.J. — Marijuana could be grown, sold and used in New Jersey under new legislation introduced Monday in the state Senate. Democratic Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the bill’s sponsor, said at a news conference that the measure has little chance of being enacted under Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who opposes legalization efforts.
“It is time to end the detrimental effect these archaic laws are having on our residents and our state,” he said. Scutari said he’s introducing the measure now as a way to lay the groundwork for it to be enacted by the next governor. He pointed to states like Colorado that have successfully implemented recreational marijuana laws, and he called the country’s marijuana prohibition a failure.
Inside the plan to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana
“I want it to be ready within the first 100 days of potential new governor’s administration,” Scutari said, according to CBS New York.
New Jersey has legalized medical marijuana but Christie, who is leading a White House commission examining the opioid crisis in the country for President Donald Trump, has been a vocal opponent of relaxing marijuana laws. Christie has argued that approving marijuana would clear the way for cocaine and heroin legalization, which has not been proposed. He said he would not agree to “poisoning” young people for the potential tax revenues.
“To me, legalization of marijuana for tax purposes — and that’s the only way people justify it because you can’t justify it any other way — is blood money,” Christie said in November. “That’s what it is to me.”
A recent CBS News poll showed 61 per cent of Americans support the legalization of the drug, up five points from last year.
During last year’s election, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada approved marijuana legalization, while four others — Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota — voted to establish medical marijuana programs.