15 May 2017
The report reveals
A state lawmaker on Monday is scheduled to unveil legislation that would legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana in New Jersey.
State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) will formally announce the Democratic-sponsored measure at a noon news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton.
“The national trend is toward legalization,” Scutari told NJ Advance Media on Friday. “It’s absolutely necessary to save our neighborhoods from drug dealers. And we can use the tax revenue. And people are smoking it anyway.”
The bill would not immediately legalize marijuana. It would still need to be passed by both houses of the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and signed by the governor to be enacted.
Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, is staunchly against marijuana, arguing that it’s a “gateway drug” that can lead users to try harder substances.
Earlier this month, Christie ripped into supporters of legal pot, saying Democrats who want to pass such legislation are willing to “poison our kids” to receive “blood money” from the tax money it will bring in.
“This is beyond stupidity,” he said during a speech in Princeton.
But Scutari noted that Christie’s final term is up in January, and a new governor will be elected in November. The front-runner is Democrat Phil Murphy, who is in favor of legalization. So are the other five Democratic candidates for governor. Republican candidates are split.
“We got to get the ball rolling and educate the legislators,” said Scutari, chairman of the Senate’s judiciary committee. “This is not something I can guarantee passage of right now. But we’ve got to work it so it will be ready for a new administration come January.”