New Jersey Committees Pass Legislation to Legalize Marijuana

New Jersey’s Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees approved legislation today that would make marijuana legal for everyone at least 21 years old.

By a vote of seven to two, with four members abstaining, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 2703 today, which is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari. Also today, the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved Assembly Bill 4497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, by a vote of six to one, with two members abstaining. The measures will now go to the full chambers for a vote; passage in both chambers would send the legisaltion to Governor Murphy, who made legalization one of his top platforms during his successful election campaign last year.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the legislation:

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New Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Marijuana Legalization This Month Says Senate President and Assembly Speaker

New Jersey lawmakers will vote later this month to advance legislation that would legalize marijuana, says Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney.

On Wednesday at the state League of Municipalities’ annual conference in Atlantic City Coughlin said he has enough in committee to pass a measure that would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older. Speaking after Coughlin, Sweeney said he agrees with Coughlin’s timeline, but noted that he needs help from Governor Murphy to lobby votes; Murphy made legalizing marijuana one of his primary platforms in his successful run for governor last year, evening going as far as vowing to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days (a timeline which has passed, though most people don’t hold it against him as he’s continued to make it a key issue).

“The only way something like this gets passed legislatively is if all three of us work together,” said Sweeney. “If [the governor is] not going to lobby any votes for us then it won’t get done.”

Read moreNew Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Marijuana Legalization This Month Says Senate President and Assembly Speaker

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Says State May Legalize Marijuana by the End of the Month

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) says state lawmakers may vote on marijuana legalization on October 29.

Governor Phil Murphy“We’ve had good exchanges with both the legislative leadership sponsors and, most importantly, the teams in the trenches crafting this,” Murphy said during a recent live Facebook interview in which he was asked about legalizing marijuana . “I think it’s sooner than later.”

Murphy says that based on current discussions and support, having a vote on October 29 “feels about right.” The two things that may potentially delay a vote is a debate on marijuana taxes (Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he won’t support anything higher than 12%, while some have argued for as high as 25%), and disagreement about which regulatory body should oversee the legal marijuana industry.

Read moreNew Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Says State May Legalize Marijuana by the End of the Month

New Poll Finds 59% of New Jersey Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

As New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continues to advocate for legalizing marijuana, new polling  shows that a strong majority of voters in the state are behind him on the issue.

“Voters support 59 – 37 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use”, states a press release from Quinnipiac University, who conducted the poll. “Support is 63 – 33 percent among men and 55 – 41 percent among women. White voters support legalized marijuana 58 – 39 percent, with non-white support at 60 – 35 percent. ”

The Quinnipiac University Poll found that only “9 percent of Garden State voters say they would definitely try marijuana if it were legal, while 13 percent say they would probably try; 18 percent say they would probably not try legal marijuana and 58 percent say they definitely would not try it.”

Read moreNew Poll Finds 59% of New Jersey Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

9 States Have Legalized Cannabis – Here Are the 5 States Most Likely to Become #10

Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada have all legalized marijuana, and Vermont’s Legislature just approved a bill to join this list. Which state will be #10?

Below is a list (in no particular order) of the top five states we believe are the most likely to legalize marijuana next, becoming the 10th state in the U.S. to do so (which would make 20% of the entire country).

Read more9 States Have Legalized Cannabis – Here Are the 5 States Most Likely to Become #10

Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Unveiled in New Jersey

A proposal to legalize marijuana has been introduced in New Jersey.

At a press conference today at the Statehouse in Trenton, State Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) formally unveiled a proposal that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older. The proposal, if passed into law, would make New Jersey the 9th state in the U.S. to legalize the plant, following Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada.

Similar to how legalization has been handled in those eight state’s, Scutari’s proposal would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for those 21 and older, while establishing a system of licensed and regulated cannabis retail outlets and cultivation centers. Retail outlets would be authorized to distribute cannabis to anyone 21 and older, regardless of whether or not they’re a New Jersey resident.

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Bill to Legalize Cannabis for Everyone 19+ Filed in New Jersey

newjerseyRepublican Assemblymember Michael Carrol has introduced legislation that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis for everyone 19 and older, similar to how the state handles tobacco.

Assembly Bill 4193 would “legalize marijuana by removing all criminal liability associated with marijuana from the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, as well as its regulation as a controlled dangerous substance under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act”.

Read moreBill to Legalize Cannabis for Everyone 19+ Filed in New Jersey

Coalition to Legalize Cannabis Formed in New Jersey

Activists, public officials and civil njrights groups have joined together to launch a coalition aimed at legalizing cannabis in New Jersey. The new group, named New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, will hold a press conference today to formally announce their effort.

Among those taking part in the new group and participating in the press conference is the New Jersey Municipal Prosecutor’s Association and  the New Jersey chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Read moreCoalition to Legalize Cannabis Formed in New Jersey