Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey has, for now, downgraded his promise to voters from full on legalized adult-use marijuana to much expanded medical marijuana laws and lower costs. The final public hearing about marijuana law reform in the Garden State was held by an assembly oversight committee on Saturday.
New Jersey’s previous governor, Chris Christie, was and still is a major opponent to any form of legalized cannabis, and did everything he could when he was in office to stifle the voter approved medical marijuana laws. Governor Murphy on the other hand is a major proponent to legalized cannabis for both its medicinal value and the tax revenue it can generate.
“The tax money we could bring in to our state that could go to our schools, job creation,” said business owner Tara Misusargent. “Keeping it illegal makes it seem so illogical.”
“It’s also going to produce issues that we’re going to have to deal with like driving under the influence, detection, prosecution, education, incarceration,” said Joseph Danielsen, chair of the assembly Oversight, Reform, and Federal Relations committee.
The patient fee will also be reduced from $200 to $100, with a $20 rate for veterans and seniors. As of Tuesday, there were more than 1,800 residents enrolled in the New Jersey medical marijuana program.
Despite other legislators in New Jersey impeding Governor Murphy’s attempts to bring recreational cannabis and its commercial sales to the state’s residents, an expanded medical marijuana program should allow many more patients to access medical cannabis and make it more affordable. If New Jersey does not legalize adult-use cannabis and its sales, that will leave only Massachusetts on the entire eastern seaboard that will be offering cannabis sales for adults. Sales in Massachusetts are set to begin on July 1st and could draw many tourists and tax revenue from the northeast.