New Jersey Looks to Legalize Cannabis in 2020 Election

New Jersey, get ready. We are up next to join the list of states that currently allow the legal use of medicinal and recreational marijuana for adults.

You heard right, Marijuana is on the ballot. This November during the presidential election, New Jersey voters will be able to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those over the age of 21. This vote will also legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana in the state. If approved, New Jersey would be the first state in the Mid-Atlantic to legalize weed.

That’s huge. Take a look at the economies of states that have already taken the step to legalize adult use of cannabis. Colorado just reported the most sales of cannabis in a single month since legalization, raking in about $160 million worth of products in June.

In April, a Monmouth Poll was conducted by telephone which asked voters how likely they are to vote in favor of legalization. The poll found that  61% of voters said that they were certain to vote yes, 15% said they were likely to vote no, 4% said they were not sure and 1% said they were unlikely to vote. (Boo, to the 1%. Voting is cool)

That was the first sign that legalization is on the horizon.

In July, another poll conducted by Brach Eichler found that 68% of New Jersey registered voters support adult-use cannabis legalization. With just months until the vote, Governor Murphy (D), who is a huge supporter of legalizing cannabis, has expressed how voting in favor of marijuana could simultaneously help the state recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic while also promoting racial justice.

In a radio interview with Jim Kerr, Governor Murphy said this:

“It’s got a huge social justice piece for me. The overwhelming percentage of persons nailed in our criminal justice system are persons of color. It’s a no-brainer in that respect,” he said. “It’s a job creator, it’s a tax revenue raiser, it checks a lot of boxes. I hope we’ll get there sooner than later.”

We all know just how important the social justice component of Marijuana, especially in the black community. According to the ACLU, data reveals that African Americans are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijauna possession than any other race.

If the legalization takes place in Jersey, the new law would create an online portal that allows individuals with minor marijuana convictions to have their records expunged. The amendment also requires pending possession charges to be downgraded or dismissed.

You may be wondering what the current marijuana law is in New Jersey. Well, it’s pretty straight forward.

In 2010, the state passed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. This law legalized medical marijuana and established regulations around dispensaries. In 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, which dramatically improved the program.

Medicinal marijuana patients can now receive two to three ounces of edibles for adults. The upgrade also phased out the sales tax on cannabis medicine. There are currently over 80,000 registered patients and 11 state-licensed dispensaries in New Jersey.

So, there’s a lot on the line with the legalization of cannabis in New Jersey. At this point, it seems very likely to take place based on projections from the earlier polls. Legalizing marijuana is just step one. When that’s done, the state legislature has to work to create regulations that would benefit all those involved in the industry. Nonetheless, Roll Up Life is excited to be in a state that is joining the progressive movement that looks to even the playing field when it comes to cannabis, especially for minorities.

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