New Jersey is poised to become the biggest state on the East Coast to legalize recreational marijuana.
After struggling to enact legislation to join the growing number of states that have fully lifted prohibition of the drug, lawmakers placed it directly on the Nov. 3 ballot. And it has widespread support: a recent poll found that two-thirds of likely voters are in favor of it.
The step would be a major boost to the marijuana business by making New Jersey the fourth most-populous state to legalize recreational use. It would also promise more than $100 million of new tax revenue to New Jersey, which was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and is planning to borrow billions to cover the shortfalls left in the government’s budget.
“It will be an economic engine for New Jersey when it gets going,” said state Senator Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat, who plans to file enabling legislation as soon as next week, if voters approve the measure. “The greater impact on society is going to be the job opportunities, people getting employed and paying their employment tax, people not getting arrested. It’ll be a whole new industry just like we have liquor stores, and we have breweries and we have beverage warehousing.”