New Jersey senator to introduce marijuana legalization bill

Union County State Senator Nicholas Scutari will introduce legislation Monday that will make the case for legalizing and taxing marijuana in New Jersey. He plans to model the bill after Washington state and Colorado, which took in $2 million in the first month of sales alone and would tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol.

In a press release Scutari said, “anybody that looks at the facts, knows that the war on marijuana has been a miserable failure. We’re not delusional about how simple the effort would be, but I think from a standpoint of moving this state and this country forward on its archaic drug laws, I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, more than 22,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey in 2010. A minor possession conviction for people can have long-term implications under New Jersey’s current cannabis policy and the group says its a waste of law enforcement resources and taxpayer money.

It also seems the Garden State’s opinion is growing strong. A poll released by Lake Research Partners in June found that 59 percent of New Jersey voters support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis. More recently, a Gallup poll released in October found that 58% of Americans are in favor of legalization.

But as long as Governor Chris Christie remains in office, the bills chances of getting signed into law are very slim. The governor has repeatedly said he would allow legalization or even decriminalization of marijuana because it sends the wrong message to kids.

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