New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who throughout his time in office fought marijuana legalization, will hand the reins over to his successor in January. Who wins November’s gubernatorial election will decide, among a host of other things, the future of cannabis in the Garden State.
Phil Murphy, the Democratic candidate, supports legalizing the herb for recreational use, In fact, he has made a vow on the campaign trail that he would put his signature on a legalization bill within his first 100 days in office.
Republican Kim Guadagno, the Republican candidate and current NJ Secretary of State, does not support legalization. However, she does support decriminalizing possession and promises to expand the state’s burdensome medical marijuana program.
Related Story: New Jersey Candidate For Governor: Legalize It!
According to NJ.com, Murphy articulated his desire for reform during a recent debate:
Murphy said he sees legalizing marijuana as a solution to the social justice problem of higher arrest and conviction rates for blacks than white.
“That is the reason we want to legalize marijuana — not because we can make money off of it. That’s the last reason.”
Guadagno fought back:
“There is a less intrusive way to solve the social injustice problem than legalizing drug dealers. I am wholly opposed to legalizing marijuana. Having said that I, do believe we can decriminalize it.”
Scott Rudder, a former state legislator and the president of the Canabusiness Association, told N.J. com that changes are afoot no matter who is the new governor.
“We know no matter who wins in November, there will be an expansion of the medical cannabis market to provide greater access to patients, and decriminalization. We are confident that will occur.”
Rudder is correct: If you are an advocate for sensible cannabis legislation, anybody is better than Christie. In the past, the longtime drug warrior has been vocal about his dislike for marijuana. Earlier this year, he called supporters of legalization “crazy liberals” who want to “poison our kids.” He called taxes generated from legal retail sales as “blood money.”
Christie also took a jab at Murphy:
“People like … Phil Murphy want to bring this poison, legalized, into this state under the premise that, well, it doesn’t matter because people can buy it illegally anyway. Then why not legalize heroin? I mean, their argument fails just on that basis. Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference? Let everybody choose.”
And this is the person President Donald Trump selected to chair the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.