New Jersey lawmakers say they are simply waiting for Governor Chris Christie to get out of dodge before they serious about legalizing a recreational marijuana trade similar to states like Colorado.
Not only is the issue of marijuana reform one of the key points of discussion in this year’s gubernatorial election, it is also expected to become the center of the 2018 legislative session.
Governor Christie’s recent tirade about how marijuana legalization is a ploy to “poison our kids” is just the latest in a cornucopia of anti-pot swill to coming spilling from the mouth of this Republican. Although the speech managed to secure a significant amount of press coverage, no one was truly surprised to learn that Christie is still dead set on allowing a legal cannabis industry to emerge on his watch. He has made his feelings on the subject perfectly clear.
It is for this reason that state legislators are just biding their time until the day comes when Christie no longer has any pull – and that day is coming soon. As of January 2018, there will be a new governor in office and a brand spanking new opportunity for lawmakers to hash out a marijuana bill.
In fact, it was just last year that state Senate President Stephen Sweeney told reporters that legislative forces would begin working on a plan to legalize weed as soon as Governor Christie was out of office. He gave every indication that they would not even wait for the body to get cold.
But while the issue appears to have a great deal of support in the state legislature, it is imperative that the next governor be more relaxed when it comes to the concept of legal weed. Otherwise, the state could find itself being held down by the same types of shenanigans that Senator Nicholas Scutari, one of the leading forces behind pot reform in the Garden State, believes has caused the state to miss out on millions of dollars in tax revenue.
The best candidate New Jersey has with respect to this issue is Democrat Phil Murphy, who has been a favorite ever since he announced his bid. Last October, when questioned about marijuana reform at a town hall meeting, Murphy said, “I support legalization,” adding that he believes ending prohibition is really the best approach. This sentiment was echoed during a recent debate, where Murphy called for a “comprehensive reform of our criminal justice system,” which would include the “legalization of marijuana.”
On the Republican side of the card is New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. But this frontrunner has not given any indication whether she would put her signature on a bill calling for the state to cultivate and sell marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.