In recent news for the Garden State, newly-elected Governor Phil Murphy has promised New Jersey citizens that he will legalize marijuana for recreational use. The governor and marijuana experts predict that the plant will be available for recreational purchase in the next year. This would make New Jersey the tenth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Some are concerned that this will impact New York, since three of Staten Islandā€™s four bridges are connected to New Jersey; this could potentially impact crime, the economy, and public health levels, as well as increase the need for stricter law enforcement.
What Are the Bills Proposed for New Jersey?
The first bill was introduced last May in the state Senate, while the other is planned to be announced in February of this year. Both bills allow for possession and personal use of marijuana for people 21 years old or older. The bills will also create a state agency that will help regulate the new industry, and they will also allow an establishment of a market for marijuana growers and sellers. They will also ensure a state tax on the marijuana, and they will clear low-level marijuana charges from any criminal records. One of the bills will also allow New Jersey residents to grow marijuana at home for personal use, but the other bill does not permit this.
How Will This Impact the State?
Gov. Murphy believes that this legalization will provide a stronger economy for the state, and it will give better opportunities for residents that have a low-level marijuana charge on their record. The governorā€™s beliefs and these legalization discussions have also influenced Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York to consider legalizing the drug for the Empire State. Many marijuana legalization experts have also confirmed that this will simplify the drug crisis and boost the economy. It will give at least $300 million in tax revenue for New Jersey, and it will save millions every year in law enforcement costs.
Things are looking up for New Jersey and the legalization of marijuana, but these bills still need to be passed and enforced. In the meantime, however, you can still face criminal charges if found in possession with marijuana or any other illegal drug. Contact our criminal defense lawyers if you have been charged with a criminal offense and you need us to expertly defend you.