With Vermont having recently passed marijuana legalization, the focus for legislative legalization has now turned to New Jersey. New Jersey appears to be the most likely to follow Vermont’s lead and legalize marijuana via legislative action. New Jersey’s new Governor, Phil Murphy, has made it very clear that he wants to see marijuana legalized in his state. Governor Murphy stated in his victory speech that he wanted New Jersey to legalize marijuana within 100 days of him taking office.
Governor Murphy has since stated that he doesn’t want to set an exact deadline for legalization, likely because he realizes the political factors at play. His support for marijuana legalization is not enough on its own to make it a reality in New Jersey. The New Jersey Legislature ultimately needs to pass a bill and send it to the Governor’s desk first. New Jersey’s effort got a big boost this week from one of its federal lawmakers. Senator Cory Booker had the following to say this week, via NJ.com:
“New Jersey should move ahead and we should not only legalize, but we should expunge records,” Booker said, adding that Congress also has to act in response to Sessions.
“We’ve just got to do a lot of work here in Congress to not only hold our attorney general accountable, but to allow states to move forward with medical marijuana and other things that states are doing to exercise their states’ rights.”
As far as I know, this is the first time that Cory Booker has specifically come out in support of state-level marijuana legalization in New Jersey. I could be wrong, but it’s the first quote that I have seen. Senator Booker has obviously come out in support of federal legalization, having personally introduced legislation that would end federal cannabis prohibition. But this is a first for state-level legalization as far as I know. If I am wrong, by all means, put a link in the comments of an earlier endorsement.
Regardless of if it’s the first time or not, the public endorsement of legalization in New Jersey by Senator Booker this week is very timely. There has been push-back in the New Jersey Legislature on Phil Murphy’s calls for legalization, and New Jersey’s legalization effort can use all the help it can get right now. A poll from Election Day 2017 in New Jersey found that 65% of voters in New Jersey support marijuana legalization.