New Jersey Marijuana Reform News Review Today:
Officials in New Jersey are reviewing the potential to pass additional marijuana reform legislation. Right now in the U.S., there are 23 states that have passed legislation that permits the use of medical marijuana in some form and 4 states have passed legislation that permits the use of recreational marijuana. Despite these efforts, the federal government continues to hold the line on marijuana law. Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug and considered highly addictive and dangerous. Although marijuana reform is gaining traction all across the United States, the federal government has not yet moved to reform the current federal laws regarding marijuana. States are making reform moves however, and New Jersey may seek to reform laws on recreational marijuana.
Time for a change with Marijuana Law:
Recently, Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari relayed that it was time for the state to move forward with marijuana reform. Scutari said that it is time to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in the state and across the nation. Scutari, D-Union, shares that the federal laws in the U.S. prohibiting marijuana have failed and that it is time for a change.
One roadblock to this change however could be current Governor Chris Christie. Christie does not believe in marijuana reform and has said that he would veto any legislation that worked to decriminalize or legalize marijuana in the state of New Jersey. He also said that if he became President, he would work to “crack down” on states that permit the use of recreational or medical marijuana. During Christie’s tenure as governor of New Jersey, the number of marijuana associated arrests has risen. During the 2013 calendar year, over 24,000 arrests were made in the state of New Jersey for marijuana possession. This type of police and judicial activity takes a great deal of time and costs a great deal of money. Marijuana reform in the state could result in savings and revenues that could climb into the millions.
People in the state are starting to believe that the current consequences of getting arrested for possessing marijuana are too severe and too long lasting. This concern is what sparked the first serious debate and discussion regarding legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. Committee Chairman, Nicholas Scutari said that he plans on introducing a new bill that works to legalize marijuana in the state. Scutari hopes to have enough votes and to be the catalyst for recreational marijuana reform in New Jersey.