Last month, the state of New Jersey voted in favour of bills which would legalize cannabis, and are now awaiting Governor Phil Murphy’s signature. One of the bills downgrades the possession of less than an ounce of psilocybin, to a disorderly persons offense, while another one decriminalizes cannabis and a third one legalizes it.
“We’ve reached an agreement on legislation providing the framework for legalization, which is a critical step in reducing racial disparities and social inequities that have long plagued our criminal justice system. This legislation will accomplish our shared goals of delivering restorative justice and ensuring that the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs see the economic benefits of the adult-use cannabis market. While there is still much work ahead, we are one step closer to building a new, promising industry for our state.”
Meanwhile, the state’s medical marijuana program will fall under the Department of Health. Jersey currently has 12 operational medical marijuana facilities, which according to Scutari, should be able to start selling the product to adults over the age of 21 in “the immediate future.”
Other states legalizing marijuana
Last November, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota, also voted in favour of having marijuana legalized for recreational purposes. Despite the difficulties posed by the Covid crises, advocates managed to collect over 661,000 signatures in the 2020 election cycle to put the questions on the ballot.
Matthew Schweich, deputy director at the Marijuana Policy Project, said that many supporters swayed in favour because of the revenue marijuana taxes bring in. “Voters are aware of the fiscal pain that’s already here or coming down the road. I believe they’re seeing marijuana revenue as part of the solution,” he said.
An article published on Roll Call prior to the elections, had explained that the states of South Dakota and New Jersey would be watched closely, as a win in South Dakota would mean that “Republican Senate Majority Whip John Thune represents a state with legalized marijuana.” While legalization in New Jersey would apparently encourage nearby states to follow suit.
Read Further: Rolling Stone