New Jersey State Senator Calls for the Legalization of Marijuana

In a previous blog, the criminal defense attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo, LLC, available for no-cost consultations at (888) 847-2529, discussed the status of the new medical marijuana program in New Jersey and the recent changes in the law that have affected it. While those changes are proceeding in measured steps, there is at least one New Jersey politician who thinks the state needs to take a leap and legalize the sale and possession of marijuana altogether.

Citing the state’s war on drugs as “a miserable failure,” State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he plans to introduce a bill that would legalize pot in the state. Currently, Washington and Colorado are the only two states in the union that have legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Scutari stated that legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana makes sense because police are dedicating valuable resources to a losing battle and that lives are being ruined because of minor drug offense convictions.

He expects an uphill battle.

“We’re not delusional about how simple the effort would be,” Scutari stated. “But I think from a standpoint of moving this state and this country forward on its archaic drug laws, I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

For his part, New Jersey Governor Chris Christy has made it clear that he objects strongly to any legalization effort and has put up roadblocks for those who have attempted to expand the state’s medical marijuana laws.

Sutari says that legalizing marijuana will eliminate the black market for the drug by creating a regulated industry that would promote job creation and tax revenue. He believes that legalization would lead to an elimination of drug dealers and criminals currently associated with the illegal trade and would “provide us with a tremendous cost savings and time savings for our law enforcement officers.”

Where will the legalization effort lead? If marijuana is legalized in New Jersey it will completely change the landscape of drug laws in the state. Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo will be keeping track of this effort as it proceeds and will be keeping tabs on any bills that are submitted regarding marijuana legalization in New Jersey.

Regardless of state law, sale and possession of marijuana is still technically illegal under federal law. While the Obama Administration has said that it will not interfere with any state’s decision to legalize or decriminalize marijuana, that attitude could change with future administrations.

If you have been accused of a drug offense, contact Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo in New Jersey. You can all us toll-free at (888) 847-2529 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to review your case.