Gov. Philip D. Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders in New Jersey have reached an agreement that could place the state on a path to legalizing recreational marijuana this year if they are able to win enough support in the state legislature.
The agreement, which establishes how marijuana would be taxed and sets parameters on a committee to regulate the drug, marks a significant step forward for Mr. Murphy’s promise to introduce the roughly $50 billion national recreational cannabis market to a major population center on the East Coast and on New York City’s doorstep.
But while the state legislature is controlled by Democrats and has embraced a progressive agenda, such as raising the minimum hourly wage to $15, efforts to legalize marijuana has divided lawmakers. Some African-American legislators, led by Ronald L. Rice, a state senator from Newark, are wary of supporting legalization because of the impact it may have on low-income and minority neighborhoods. Also, most Republicans in both chambers oppose legalization.
“The most important aspect of it is we don’t necessarily have all the votes lined up yet,” said Nicholas Scutari, a state senator from northern New Jersey who has been the architect of a bill to legalize marijuana. [Read more at The New York Times]
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