New Jersey Governor Elect Phil Murphy is absolutely dedicated to the legalization of cannabis in the Garden State, meaning things are about to get a whole lot greener, from tax revenue to the flowers themselves.
In his primary race, Murphy promised to legalize it within his first 100 days in office, which means New Jerseyites could be looking at new cannabis laws as early as late March. And it will be historic. This will be the first-time marijuana’s been legalized without having been voted in first.
National approval for legalization is at 64 percent according to the Washington Examiner, so the move forward makes sense, it’s simply unprecedented. But Murphy doesn’t stand alone. Now that Democrats have full control of New Jersey’s state legislature, they’re on board to prioritize legalization in 2018.
Stephen Sweeney, President of the Jersey senate feels confident that they will pass legalization by April and will have recreational stores open by 2019. He also feels confident that even if there are some democratic naysayers, “at least a couple” republicans would make up the difference.
What legalization might entail is another story. The legislation has started and one stark missing component is home cultivation, though it could still be up for debate. Currently, seven of the eight states that have legalized recreational cannabis allow for home grows. Either way, New Jersey is taking a giant step in the right direction.
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New Jersey needs legal weed. Not just because of Jersey attitudes that are caricatured so often, but because of the disparities in arrests when it comes to skin color and because of the revenue that will help pay for struggling schools.
Also, New Jersey’s medical marijuana program was not only made inefficient by the #1 least popular governor of all time, Chris Christie, but also because the qualifying conditions are pretty severe. Obtaining a medical card means that you needed it yesterday.
Come April, if everything goes as Murphy and Sweeney planned, people with anxiety disorders, aches and pains, insomnia, those struggling with opiate dependence and those who just feel better when they imbibe will all be on their way to the benefits of cannabis.
It wasn’t long ago, as pointed to in Time Out magazine, that legalizing even medical marijuana (in any state) was a grassroots movement that took a whole lot of love, sweat and effort to get passed. Now we’re past that tipping point and not only has cannabis become re-legitimized post reefer madness, it’s a professionalized, rapidly growing landscape with a multi-billion dollar claim to fame.