Good ideas are cast aside, and bad ideas become law in lame-duck legislative sessions. The New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that the Senate would attempt to legalize the possession and use of recreational marijuana. This will be a test of whether this good idea will go to waste or be brought to life.
Despite the overwhelming support for the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana, legalization supporters have been unable to get a majority vote in the legislature. The legalization issue was scheduled for discussion in March, but it has been dormant from the time a headcount revealed that it would be short with a few votes and so voting was abruptly called off at the time.
Since then, it is unlikely that the quest for the required majority has produced any fruit because the opposers of the legislation were joined by others who were objecting to other marijuana provisions such as oversight, licensing, sales outlet locations, tax rate, and revenue allocation.
He wanted the legislation to address some of these issues, but the opposition objected to the proposed changes. The members of the clergy oppose the legalization of marijuana, terming it as a means of profiting the investors at the expense of the weak while inflicting harm to the communities that are greatly affected by the war against drugs.
The leader of opposition in the Senate, Newark Senator Ron Rice, said that the people who will benefit most from legalization are outside investors. He also predicted that the legalization of recreational marijuana would destroy urban communities’ quality of life while severely damaging the health and welfare of the youth.
The supporters and the opposers of marijuana legalization will present evidence to support their positions during the fresh debates. They will present evidence that shows if marijuana contributes or does not contribute to road accidents, if the functioning of the brain is impaired or not or if using marijuana for prolonged periods affects or does not affect cognition.
Urban mayors whose cities have been affected by the war against drugs made compelling cases insisting that their cities should get the larger share of tax revenue due to the suffering inflicted on their communities. They also demand to be given priority in sales licenses and retail outlets. The legislative supporters are faced with the challenge of giving in to their demands because it is unlikely they will change or lessen these requirements.
If the Senate does not approve the legislation, Sweeney’s fall back plan is placing the bill in the 2020 ballot box for voters. The ballot would pass the bill due to the increased turnout since it is a presidential election year.
During his campaign the now Governor Murphy said that he would ensure marijuana would be legalized within the first 100 days of his term, but now it is two years since the election and weed is still illegal.
The most challenging issue Governor Murphy has handled during his term is marijuana legalization, but he is still positive that the legislators will come around and approve the proposal. One would be justified to believe that marijuana companies like The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) are a bit skeptical about the chances that New Jersey will legalize recreational marijuana legislatively this year.
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