November 21, 2018, New Jersey
The legislative progress to legalize cannabis in New Jersey has taken some major turns in the last couple of months. The feat that looked insurmountable during the tenure of the last governor may now be near its materialization. As per incoming reports, the legislature might start voting on different legislation bills from the next week.
According to a local news source, the office of the President of New Jersey’s Senate has issued a new timeline for voting on the legalization bill. This information suggests that the Assembly and Senate will hold hearings in coming days on the bill. And if things go as prescribed in the given timeline, the state lawmakers will be able to vote on the bill on November 26.
However, this can prove to be easier said than done. Getting both houses of the legislature to vote on the measure won’t be a mean task. And after that, the bill will also need the final seal of approval from the governor’s office. As of now, it is not clear if the bill has the required support from the lawmakers. Experts are of the belief that New Jersey legislature has kind of a polarized opinion the issue. Some strongly advocate legalization while others are vehement proponents of ongoing prohibition.
There are also few who are not completely against the idea of legalization but want to have it through a measured pace. For instance, Assemblyman Ronald Rice is of the opinion that the state first should take steps to decriminalize the strain.
However, it is being said that pro-legalization group in New Jersey is now relatively stronger than the opponents. One reason behind this pro-cannabis dominance is the ascension of Phil Murphy to the office of Governor. Murphy holds progressive views on the issue of cannabis. During the gubernatorial campaign, he frequently laid out its progressive and pro-cannabis thoughts in front of the electorate.
Even after assuming the office, Murphy hasn’t backed off from his promises on Cannabis. In several meetings and interviews, he has reiterated that he will ratify any evenhanded legalization draft that will land on its table.
The current legalization draft, which is up for legislative debate, was presented in the state legislature in September. Apart from standard provisions pertaining to legalization, the bill also contains some unique and noteworthy stipulations. For instance, the bill calls for the lowest tax rate among all the legal states. This provision is also a major cause of disagreement between lawmakers. Moreover, the bill also entails the establishment of controlled public spaces for the consumption of legal marijuana. Not many legal states grant this freedom to cannabis users.
The bill also contains provisions to address the effects of protracted and unjust war on drugs that has mostly affected color communities. The bill sets aside a number of business licenses for people who have borne the brunt of the war on drugs. Similarly, the bill also calls for the expungement of past criminal records linked to minor cannabis crimes.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]