New Jersey lawmakers are fully prepared to legalize a recreational marijuana market the second Governor Chris Christie leaves office.
A recent report from Entrepreneur claims the Garden State could soon follow in the footsteps of other East Coast jurisdictions, like Maine and Massachusetts, by making cannabis a part of statewide commerce.
The articles suggests that lawmakers may have already taking the leap if not for the fact that Christie, a man who believes marijuana legalization is “beyond stupidity” and will “poison the children,” was destined to veto it with extreme prejudice the moment it crossed his desk.
So, instead of fighting a losing battle, lawmakers say they are waiting it out; just hanging on until the day comes when Christie no longer has any authority over the laws passed in New Jersey.
Fortunately, that day is on the horizon.
As of January 2018, there will be a new governor running the scene and, with that, comes a new opportunity for the state legislature to put a recreational marijuana law on the books.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney says legislative forces are ready to move on a marijuana bill as soon as Christie’s term is up. Sweeney and Senator Nicholas Scutari have been scheming on this legislative pursuit for quite sometime, as both lawmakers are of the opinion that the state is missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue by not capitalizing on the cultivation and sale of legal weed. The issue is expected to become one of the hottest topics of the 2018 session.
But before this reform can be considered a lock, the voters must first elect a new governor who will support the cause.
Many believe the next leader will be Phil Murphy, the frontrunner for the Democrats. Last year, Murphy said, “I support legalization,” when questioned about his position on the issue. He went on to say that ending prohibition was the best approach.
During a recent debate, Murphy echoed his previous statement, saying that he would push for a “comprehensive reform of our criminal justice system,” which would include the “legalization of marijuana.”
New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, the Republican favorite, has not given any indication whether she would side with legalization or keep Christie’s spirit alive.
Nevertheless, there is a lot of hope that legalization is going to happen in 2018.
Reports show that a cannabis industry trade organization has emerged to get the business community prepared for the coming of legal weed. The New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association says it is working to build support for the issue “as we grow toward a cannabis-based economy in the Garden State,” according to a press statement.
The group is working to “bring together industry leaders, medical professionals, and policy experts to build support for this long overdue effort," said founder Peter Cammarano.
We imagine the talks surrounding this issue will become more amplified following the November election.