New Jersey Could Be The Next State To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

A just-proposed bill would make recreational consumption of the herb legal in the Garden State.

In the United States, legal weed advances from coast to coast via state-enacted legislation. The new weed laws are drafted and proposed and either approved or denied on a seemingly weekly basis. Just last week, lawmakers in Vermont made weed history when (for the first time outside of a voter-approved bill) the state legislature proposed a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use, possession, and eventually a regulated marketplace. 

And on Monday, New Jersey Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis consumption in the Garden State.

From NBCPhiladelphia:

"Under HB 110, the state would regulate cannabis much like alcohol. Only people over the age of 21 could purchase marijuana and driving under the influence would be illegal." 

Scrutari previously assisted in authoring New Jersey's Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. And his recreational bill would still have to see approval from the state legislature. Indeed, the pro-weed lawmaker importantly notes that state Gov. Chris Christie––a luminary within the anti-weed faction of the Republican party––is nearing the end of his term, and a new governor will be elected this coming fall.

“To me, legalization of marijuana for tax purposes—and that’s the only way people justify it because you can’t justify it any other way—is blood money,” Christie said to local media in November. “That’s what it is to me.”

Still, Scrutari is optimistic we will live to see a future in which recreational weed is legal in the Garden State.

"We got to get the ball rolling and educate the legislators," said Scutari to NJ.com. "This is not something I can guarantee passage of right now. But we've got to work it so it will be ready for a new administration come January."

If passed, New Jersey would be the ninth state to have a legal recreational marijuana program.