In the end, the pathway to New Jersey’s legalization of recreational marijuana will likely end up where many observers believed it would all along: in a statewide referendum in 2020.
Though we had some issues with parts of the legislative package that has been put forward during the many months of debate on the issue, we have long believed adult-use marijuana legalization is the right thing to do, morally, in this state, to reverse decades of biased enforcement that overwhelmingly targets young people of color for minor offenses.
As Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday after the Legislature’s last attempt at passage during the lame-duck session went down in flames, the state has missed a chance to right “a historical wrong” that, frankly, it should have addressed years ago.
“I am disappointed that we are not able to get this done legislatively and that our failed status quo — which sends roughly 600 people to jail a week for possession, the majority of them people of color — will continue," Murphy said in a statement. “However, I have faith that the people of New Jersey will put us on the right side of history when they vote next November.”