While NJ democratic leaders are ready to push legislation through to legalize marijuana in the predominantly blue state, the governor also must be on board. It’s looked bleak for the last seven years, with Chris Christie doing all he could to prevent cannabis legalization, even going as far as standing in the way of a functional medical marijuana program.
Elections are coming, however, and New Jerseyites have the power to vote in change. Here is a sampling of who’s running and where they stand on marijuana.
Phil Murphy (D)
A vote for Phil Murphy is truly a vote for legalization. And it’s not because of the estimated landslide of tax revenue. Murphy knows the numbers and finds the disparity between black and white persons in incarceration rates despicable. As one of his major talking points, Murphy stands strong behind our young (and young at heart) men and women whose lives are being ruined in the prison systems. He has stated that he would push legislation through in his first 100 days in office to legalize it.
Kim Guadagno (R)
Kim Guadagno is part of the Chris Christie camp, which should give us a resounding clue as to her stance, but surprisingly enough, although completely against legalization, Guadagno is for expanding the medical marijuana program, making it more accessible and for decriminalizing small amounts of possession. In her first gubernatorial debate, Guadagno said, “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… I also would expand the medical marijuana program, it’s onerous, it’s hard to work with, it’s not available to those who it should be made available to.”
Peter Rohrman (L)
Rohrman recognizes the Drug War as a failure and supports the legalization of cannabis. His website reads, “Substance abuse is a personal, medical issue, not a public crime,” adding that he would immediately pardon all nonviolent offenders in NJ state prisons to, “Stop wasting taxpayer money on putting sick people in jail.”
Gina Genovese (I)
Like the states that have already gone legal, Genovese wants to hold a referendum for the people to decide on legalization, though she makes her own stance clear. Genovese believes we can’t afford to not legalize it and sees the tax revenue as relieving up to 15 percent of NJ’s notoriously high property taxes.
Seth Kaper-Dale (GP)
Kaper-Dale also supports legalization and would like to see sales tax revenue go toward drug treatment, public education on drug abuse and urban development. His website states, “Additionally the state of New Jersey would partner with poor communities and groups of people stigmatized when seeking work (the disabled, transgender persons and the formerly incarcerated) to launch partnerships between the state and workers for the production and sale of marijuana to power a people’s economy.”