New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy (D) wants voters to know that approving approving cannabis legalization supports social justice and voters should approve the referendum that will appear on the ballot in November.
In his most recent remarks, delivered to the Bloomberg Surveillance program on Sunday, Murphy emphasized that the principal objective of enacting the policy shift would be to promote social equity, and he also recognized that it represents a possible source of significant tax revenue for the state.
“I wish we could’ve gotten it done through a legislative process,” Murphy said, referencing lawmakers’ inability to progress a legalization bill last session. “We just could not find the last couple of votes, so it is on the referendum. I am strongly supporting it first and foremost for social justice reasons.”
“Low-end drug crimes are the biggest reason that we’ve got young persons of color, particularly young men of color, in our criminal justice system,” he added. “Beyond that, this is a potential significant, over time, revenue item for the state and a source of job growth, which are also advantages. I hope we will see it pass in November.” The focus continues to be that cannabis legalization supports social justice.
Last week, Murphy likewise called on New Jersey voters to support the proposal in an email blast that was circulated by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.
“Legalization would correct those wrongs while also driving massive economic growth opportunities, job development, and new tax revenue,” Murphy said. “Now, we’ve got the opportunity to do this and eventually legalize adult-use marijuana here in New Jersey, and I want your help to make it happen.”
Legislators attempted to enact the policy change during the previous session, but when negotiations stood still, they chose to put the question to voters by utilizing a referendum. If the measure is approved this November, the legislature will then need to pass implementing legislation containing details for how the legal cannabis industry and market should operate.
A poll by the law firm Brach Eichler released last month shows that 65 percent of voters are in favor of the policy change. That is consistent with the results of a survey the company published in August, signaling that support is steady.
In June, the state Assembly passed a cannabis decriminalization bill that would make possession of up to 2 ounces a civil penalty with no threat of jail time, though it has not progressed in the Senate.