Last night, as the election results started coming in, New Jerseyites weren’t exactly on the edges of their seats – Phil Murphy was the projected winner before the polls even closed – but when he did win, this reporter let out a yelp, for it was an enormous win for the Garden State, which yes, is set to become a lot more green.
During his primary, marijuana was one of Murphy’s main talking points and he promised to sign in legalization for New Jersey within his first 100 days in office. In fact, he said he’d sign a legalization bill the second it hit his desk.
Experts are saying this win means it’s “full steam ahead” for cannabis legalization and cultivation in Jersey. Stephen Sweeney (D), State Senate President, who is in control of the bills the 40 person Senate votes on, stated that it is his goal to get the legislation passed within Murphy’s first 100 days.
Senator Nicholas Scutari had said previously that “it would be a waste” to have another hearing on the subject while Chris Christie was in office. Christie has been known to akin pot to opioids, thinks they exacerbate opiate use and called legalizing pot, “beyond stupidity.”
Chris Christie will exit his office on January 16 the least popular governor in U.S. history. Now he can sun himself all he wants and if there is a traffic jam, he won’t have had his sticky fingers in it.
But back on the bright side, Scutari also said, “The election of Phil Murphy gets us a giant step closer. Without him, I don’t know where we would be. He has a 100 percent commitment to [legalization].”
And that’s just what New Jersey needs. Murphy looks at the big picture of an estimated $300 million dollars in tax revenues and sees school funding and public workers’ pensions, not reefer madness or drug war tales.
The original cannabis bill that was to roll out has been cryptically changed to make “improvements,” said Scutari. One known change is that home cultivation will not be allowed. Instead, they hope to build a robust economy via commerce and economic opportunities.
Scutari continued that he hopes to implement factors into the bill that assure minority communities that have been disproportionately affected via arrests, incarceration and harassment have a fair share of the profits to come.
“I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with it. After tonight, I will,” he said, having had the satisfaction of watching his candidate win in a landslide.