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Senator Says He Will Introduce Marijuana Legalization Legislation

Most people in Ocean County are aware that both Colorado and Washington state have legalized marijuana this past year, but they may be interested to learn that the fight for legalized marijuana may soon find its way to New Jersey. According to The Star-Ledger, the state senator from Union, Nicholas Scutari, has promised to introduce legislation that would legalize marijuana possession. Whether that legislation will ever make it to the Senate floor, much less become law, remains to be seen, but it will at least get the conversation started on whether people in New Jersey should be able to legally consume small amounts of marijuana.

There are numerous arguments for and against legalization, but one of the strongest comes from the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. The director notes that while people of color and white people typically smoke equal amounts of marijuana, African-Americans are nearly three times more likely to be arrested in New Jersey for marijuana possession than white people. If marijuana possession was legalized, it would create an opportunity to right this clear bias.

Another reason why some people support the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is because it could go far to fix problems in the state’s medical marijuana law. The medical marijuana law has strict rules and regulations surrounding the program, some of which may exclude deserving patients. If small amounts of marijuana are legalized, it could make it easier for patients to get the medicine they need.

Legalized marijuana is certainly a touchy subject and one that some people in New Jersey just aren’t ready to discuss. Will it become legal here? There is no way to know just yet, but for now, being caught with marijuana is still a crime.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “State senator’s proposal to legalize marijuana has mixed support,” MaryAnn Spoto, Jan. 25, 2014

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