New Jersey has been a tough place to reform marijuana laws, mainly because New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie is one of the biggest marijuana opponents in America. Chris Christie ran for President this election cycle, and made it very clear that he does not support marijuana legalization at all. The only progressive thing Chris Christie has ever done in regards to marijuana policy was signing off on adding PTSD as a qualifying condition for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, and even then, only after some epic foot dragging.
There has been rumblings of efforts to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, but those rumblings have always been tempered by the fact that Chris Christie is in office. But in 2018, Chris Christie will be out of office, and that’s a big reason why New Jersey’s current Senate President Stephen Sweeney predicted this week that New Jersey would legalize marijuana via legislative action in 2018. Per Politico:
With Democrats favored to take back the governorship next year, the only two people left in the running for the party’s nomination favor full-scale legalization of marijuana.
That makes it more likely to happen in early 2018, which is when, Senate President Stephen Sweeney predicts, the Legislature will pass it and Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a staunch opponent of legalization, will be out of office.
“Early 2018. Look at it this way: [State Sen.] Nick Scutari’s been working on this since 2014. So it’s not something that’s brand new,” Sweeney said.
So far no state has legalized marijuana via legislative action. 2017 could definitely see a state step up and become the first, especially if momentum grows after some victories on Election Day. But even if not, it sounds like New Jersey has a great chance of legalizing via legislative action in 2018. Senator Sweeney is not alone in his support for such a move. I have not heard or read any reaction from Chris Christie on this. His ability to block legalization will be gone by 2018, but his opinion still carries weight in some New Jersey circlues (pun non intended, I know, he’s husky) for better or worse.