NJ Politics Digest: Legal Marijuana Foes Mount Last Efforts to Push Decriminalization

It's likely New Jersey's legislature will soon be considering a bill to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.


Proponents of marijuana legalization in New Jersey say it is only a matter of time before a bill is introduced and approved.
Proponents of marijuana legalization in New Jersey say it is only a matter of time before a legalization bill is introduced and approved. David McNew/Getty Images

It’s likely New Jersey’s legislature will soon be considering a bill to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.

But before that bill is introduced, foes of legalizing marijuana are mounting a last push to try to head it off, the Record reports.

One way to do that is to promote decriminalization, which would remove the racial inequities in arrests for the drug, one argument often cited by supporters of legalization.

The Record report notes that there are enough supporters of decriminalization in the state Senate to derail legalization efforts—if all of them, and all Republican members of the upper house, vote to oppose those measures.

That’s unlikely, since some who prefer decriminalization might also vote for legalization and some Republicans might vote for legalization.

But groups, such as Smart Approaches to Marijuana, are still trying to convince lawmakers to support decriminalization, holding forums and workshops to explain their stances and calling legislative offices, the Record reports.

The bill to legalize marijuana has not been introduced yet; lawmakers are working out last-minute agreements on regulations and how much sales will be taxed. And while the bill might be delayed, proponents of legalization say it is only a matter of time before it is introduced and approved, the Record reports.

Quote of the Day: “They’re having a very hard time getting the votes, because they’re worried about local backlash. They should be. This is way too far, way too soon.” — Kevin Sabet, the leader of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

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NJ Politics Digest: Legal Marijuana Foes Mount Last Efforts to Push Decriminalization