New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari announced today they were moving away from their previous plans to approve legislation to end the state’s failed prohibition on marijuana this year in the state legislature, and are instead planning to put a question regarding a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana before state voters during the 2020 election.
“It is unfortunate lawmakers in Trenton have elected to kick the can further down the road and allow tens of thousands more New Jersey residents to be saddled with criminal records for marijuana offenses due to their lack of action,” commented NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri “We are confident the voters in New Jersey will send them an unambiguous message in 2020: State residents are sick and tired of failed prohibitionist policies and overwhelmingly want to move towards the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”
In a joint press release, Senators Sweeney and Scutari laid out their plans:
“We are moving forward with a plan to seek voter approval to legalize adult use marijuana in New Jersey. We introduced legislation today to authorize a public referendum for a proposal that will lead to the creation of a system that allows adults to purchase and use marijuana for recreational purposes in a responsible way. This initiative will bring cannabis out of the underground so that it can be controlled to ensure a safe product, strictly regulated to limit use to adults and have sales subjected to the sales tax. We will now move forward with a plan that helps correct social and legal injustices that have had a discriminatory impact on communities of color. We can make real progress towards social justice at the same time that cannabis is made safe and legal.”
NORML will keep you updated as this story develops.