Philip D. Murphy, Democratic gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey, has shown unequivocal support for full legalization of marijuana, and the industry seems to be taking that as a “green light” to grow, so to speak.
The support from Murphy, and the marijuana industry’s goals, fly in the face of incumbent governor Chris Christie’s strict stance on the subject of legalization.
With his belief that marijuana “poisons kids,” Christie’s idea of regulating marijuana seems to adhere to the status quo of staying within the confines of current federal law, which keeps marijuana listed as a Schedule I substance.
Murphy and other people who are seeing the positive effects of legalizing medical cannabis, have different ideas entirely. Plus, the marijuana industry is working with various Democratic lawmakers to have a bill ready for Murphy to sign, in anticipation of the possibility that he might be elected. Murphy is an early favorite to win, hence the excitement among dispensaries, lobbyists and so on.
One such lawmaker, Democratic Senator Nicholas Scutari, authored legislation that would allow up one ounce of cannabis for recreational consumption, and would set up regulations for the retail side of the marijuana industry in New Jersey. Naturally, he did not aim this bill at Gov. Christie, whom he knew would not sign it. Scutari has instead directed it at Philip Murphy.
Sen. Scutari is also confident that, with the current consensus in the state house, this is an excellent opportunity for full legalization within the first 100 days of Murphy taking office, should he win.
Naturally, criticism of the bill comes from the American Society for Addiction Medicine, stating warnings about marijuana’s many psychoactive compounds and any negative potential. But that is not stopping dispensaries from gearing up for a possible influx of sales if Murphy wins, and signs Scutari’s bill.