As a gubernatorial candidate, Phil Murphy vowed to reform New Jersey’s criminal justice system and to legalize recreational marijuana.
New Jersey has had an interesting eight years when it comes to legal marijuana. In 2010, outgoing Governor Jim Corzine signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana on his last day in office. Governor Christie took over the job and routinely expressed his anti-marijuana views. In May of 2017, Christie accused state Democrats of trying to “poison our kids” with legalizing recreational marijuana. He also said that taxes collected from legal sales would be “blood money” and that legalizing would be “beyond stupidity.”
But despite Christie’s rigid stance on recreational marijuana, lawmakers took major steps forward in the last six months toward legalization. In June, Democrat Nicholas Scutari introduced bill S3195. If passed S3195 would legalize recreational marijuana use. While Scutari knew Christie would not be supportive of his bill, he wanted to be ready in anticipation of the governor’s January departure.
“Now is the time to begin shaping New Jersey’s recreational marijuana program,” Scutari said in June. “We will have a new governor next year and we should be prepared to move forward with a program that ends the prohibition on marijuana and that treats our residents fairly and humanely.”
According to NJ.com, if passed S3195 would: