State Sen. Nicholas Scutari is author of the adult-use, recreational marijuana legalization bill that never made it to the Senate for a full vote. You know by now New Jersey cannabis legalization is Public Question 1 (on the other side of the ballot if you haven’t voted yet).
If the ballot question passes — which seems likely considering most New Jersey voters support legalization according to several polls — Scutari’s bill will be used as a framework to draft enabling legislation.
Many in the public operate on the misunderstanding that January 1, 2021 brings with it a whole new bundle of rights for citizens.
In the campaign to legalize marijuana, one statistic has stood out for years: Black people in New Jersey are arrested for marijuana possession at a rate three times higher than white people, despite similar usage rates.
The severe disparities have persisted, but the number of arrests has skyrocketed. When the ACLU-NJ released a report three years ago analyzing marijuana arrests between 2000 and 2013, marijuana-related arrests were at an all-time high of 27,923 annually. In 2017, that number was 37,623 arrests, as documented in a newly released ACLU-NJ data brief.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney said Tuesday he’s open to exploring a decriminalization measure now that New Jersey won’t have a legal cannabis marketplace for at least another year.
“I’m open to something,” Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said in an interview, adding that he’d want a decriminalization bill structured in a way that doesn't “make the black market so attractive that it becomes worse.“
On Monday, top Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey killed a bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis. The move marks the second time lawmakers have pulled the plug on legalization this year. Now, however, lawmakers are proposing to put the question of recreational legalization on the November 2020 ballot, leaving it up to voters.
For the second time this year, top Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey pulled the plug on legislation to legalize cannabis sales for recreational use, killing any likelihood Gov. Phil Murphy will deliver on a key campaign promise before 2021.
Instead, legislative leaders introduced a resolution Monday that would put a recreational use question on the November 2020 ballot. The resolution would need to pass both houses of the state Legislature by three-fifths majorities in one year or by simple majorities in consecutive years to make it onto the ballot.
Ken Wolski runs the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of NJ.
“Our organization supports Sweeney’s effort to reintroduce marijuana legalization in the legislature in November of 2019 during the lame duck,” Mr Wolski told InsiderNJ. “We realize this legislation won’t have home cultivation in in but we support it nevertheless because of all the good legalization would do like a decrease in mass incarceration.”
Home cultivation would endow the citizens with too much liberty so we can’t have that now can we?
After Senate Bill 2703 was tabled for lack of votes in the Democrat-controlled legislature in late March, there were hopes of finding the votes and getting the New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Act on the floor in Trenton. But despite support from Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, that didn’t happen in the spring legislative session.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney now says the best chance for legalization in the Garden State is a voter referendum in 2020. The legislature has to pass measures in 2019 and 2020 to allow such a popular vote.
The War on Drugs damaged communities that have been historically targeted by biased policing and racial profiling; it is time to right those wrongs
Sweeney partially blamed Murphy for jumping the gun on his intent to expand medical marijuana access. Sweeney apparently asked Murphy to hold off on that announcement.
“I reject being blamed for trying to help citizens out who have nowhere else to turn, whose lives are at stake or quality of life is a stake,” the governor said. “I wouldn’t call that blame. This is my responsibility as governor.”