Senator Nicholas Scutari Introduces New Jersey Marijuana Legislation

Senator Nicholas Scutari Introduces New Jersey Marijuana Legislation

Flickr / Brian Shamblen / CC BY 2.0

During his campaign, governor-elect Phil Murphy voiced his support for marijuana legalization in his state of New Jersey. Though Murphy is not officially in office until next week, Sen. Nicholas Scutari has already made moves to fulfill Murphy’s campaign promise.

On Jan. 9, 2018, the first day of the new legislative session, Scutari introduced legislation that would allow adults 21 and older to consume recreational marijuana.

According to the Associated Press, Scutari is not concerned with the Justice Department’s reversal of the Obama Administration’s Cole Memo.

“We’re still going to move forward,” Scutari said. “I think it’s going to be difficult for the federal government, especially without local law enforcement, to close it down.”

Murphy, who won the gubernatorial election this past November, promised New Jersey residents that he would legalize recreational marijuana. Though New Jersey has already implemented a medical marijuana program, Murphy said the legalization of recreational marijuana could generate $300 million in revenue for the state.

Murphy’s views are staunchly different than New Jersey’s current governor, Chris Christie. While Murphy has widely supported legalizing marijuana, Christie has outwardly opposed the idea.

Under the legislation — a duplicate of last session’s failed measure — adults 21 and older would be allowed to have six immature plants, possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana edibles, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids and 7 grams of marijuana concentrate.

Scutari also explained that a Division of Marijuana Enforcement would be in charge of creating state regulations for the new industry, and sales tax would start at 7% but rise to 25% over five years.

In a Quinnipiac University poll from last year, 59% of New Jersey residents supported the legalization of marijuana.

Amanda Taylor was the editorial assistant for Marijuana Industry News from September 2016 through February 2018. She earned a BA in English and an MA in Writing from Coastal Carolina University.

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