Cannabis Industry Hopes Racial Justice Message Can Help Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use In NJ


New Jersey voters will decide on November 3rd whether to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults age 21 and over in the Garden State.

While its use is legal for medicinal purposes in the state, legalizing it for recreational use remains a controversial issue. Even so, the idea of legalizing weed has been championed by Governor Phil Murphy for the last four years, well before he became governor. He said that, as the father of four, he was swayed only after talking to State Senator Nicholas Scutari, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the marijuana lobby’s most powerful ally in Trenton, about the benefits.

Scutari, an attorney, has promoted a weed market as a revenue generator capable raising millions of dollars to fund roads and other projects. That appeals to Murphy, but the governor has also framed legalization as a racial justice issue.

He referenced racial disparities in arrests of Black people compared to whites during a pro-legalization forum last week.

“The fact is that every week, roughly plus or minus 600 New Jerseyans—600—the majority of whom are persons of color, will be arrested for marijuana possession, will have a criminal record that will hurt their prospects for getting a job and education, housing, you name it,” Murphy said. [Read more at Gothamist]