This Monday, New Jersey State Senator Nicholas Scutari is planning to announce a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. "The national trend is toward legalization," said Scutari, who has been advocating for legalization for years. “It's absolutely necessary to save our neighborhoods from drug dealers. And we can use the tax revenue. And people are smoking it anyway.”
If passed, the bill would make New Jersey the ninth state to allow recreational pot use. The bill may have a chance of passing both chambers of the state's Democratic-majority legislature, but Gov. Chris Christie, who is strongly opposed to marijuana use, would likely veto the bill. "This is beyond stupidity," he said of the bill, citing the myth of marijuana being a “gateway drug” that pushes children to use harder drugs. Christie said supporters of the legislation were willing to “poison our kids” in order to get “blood money” from marijuana tax revenues.
However, Christie's final term is up in January, and the front-runner in the election race, Democrat Phil Murphy, supports legalization. The five other Democrats running for governor also all support legalization, as do some of the Republican candidates.
“We've got to get the ball rolling and educate the legislators," Scutari said. "This is not something I can guarantee passage of right now. But we've got to work it so it will be ready for a new administration come January.”