Many expected the state of New Jersey to quickly legalize recreational marijuana after Democrat Phil Murphy took office as governor. But there's been strong resistance to the idea, but that hasn't stopped politicians from trying.
This week saw several new attempts to legalize marijuana in New Jersey. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora proposed a new bill that would establish around 400 cannabis dispensaries in the state, and also would create a more open industry than earlier proposals. Meanwhile, Murphy reiterated that he still plans on legalizing the drug during his first ever budget address.
Gusciora's proposal differs slightly from the bill currently being considered by the New Jersey Senate. The new bill would add far more dispensaries, impose a smaller tax on cannabis purchases while also allotting more of the revenue for cities and towns rather than the state and also specified how many growers the state would license.
The marijuana debate in New Jersey has become divisive in the past month or so. While legalization has proponents on both sides of the aisle, it also has opponents from both parties as well. Even Democrats, who control the state's legislature and the governor's mansion, are divided on what to do about the issue. Gusciora's bill will probably not help settle that divide, considering it's a more liberal bill in regards to legalization than previous proposals.
So it's looking like New Jersey will not get the legalized marijuana within Murphy's first 100 days in office, but it appears there's still pressure to get something done sooner rather than later.