In light of the eight different states that have approved the use of recreational marijuana and more than 60 percent of people in the country favoring legalization, state Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari has announced he will introduce new legislation to legalize personal use of small amounts of marijuana in New Jersey for people 21 years of age and older.
“The drug laws in this country prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana have failed. It is time to end the detrimental effect these archaic laws are having on our residents and our state,” Scutari (D-Linden) said. This bill will create a strictly regulated system that permits adults to purchase limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. It will bring marijuana out of the underground market where it can be controlled, regulated and taxed, just as alcohol has been for decades.”
In the bill, Scutari noted that expenditure of enforcement of current marijuana laws cost the state $127 million annually, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and that recreational marijuana would strike a blow to criminal profits from illegal sales. Scutari also noted that as it stands, African-Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for possession than Caucasians, despite similar rates of use.
“The prohibition of marijuana has been problematic on so many levels,” Scutari said. “New Jersey cannot afford to sacrifice its public safety and residents’ civil rights by continuing its ineffective and wasteful marijuana enforcement policies. Other states’ programs are working well, creating jobs and generating tax revenue, and have not seen the doom-and-gloom scenarios once predicted.”
The bill would:
“Regulating the sale and consumption of marijuana in New Jersey will not only benefit the state financially, but will mean a safer and more responsible way of treating this drug and a more humane way of treating our residents.” Scutari said.