Cannabis consumers and legalization supporters in New Jersey came out in full force to support Phil Murphy as gubernatorial candidate. Now that Murphy’s been elected, local enthusiasts for America’s most popular plant are looking for a swift and definitive end to cannabis prohibition.
With its unique population, geography and state finances, New Jersey needs to innovate quickly when it comes to retail cannabis. We can create solutions that could prove essential for the entire region to realize the full benefits of correcting this massive injustice in society.
This is where Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov.-elect Sheila Oliver can put their collective experience to a critical first test. The profound shift from criminalization to normalization will take broad buy-in from law enforcement, the private business sector and municipal leadership.
Sen, Nicholas Scutari (D., Union) has introduced a bill, but it’s only a loose template of ideas rather than a fully detailed plan. Scutari, a municipal prosecutor, is focused on criminal justice but he’s also closely aligned with the existing multistate cannabis industry. His bill leaves out many provisions that are critical to consumers, including home cultivation.
Experience in other states shows that strong advocacy and political guidance are required to avoid the political pitfalls in the money grab of regulations.
Massachusetts and Maine have been trying for a year to implement voter-approved legalization referendums. Home cultivation, personal possession, and even non-remunerative sharing are in place and running just fine. But, commercial production and retail sales of cannabis have met serious delays.
To get the most tax revenue flowing, the legislators must entice consumers to abandon the extremely efficient underground market. Murphy and Oliver will need to act swiftly with detailed positions on a variety of key cannabis topics to keep the public on board. For