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New Jersey Voters Could Decide on Marijuana Legalization

By Max Davidson March 18, 2014 New Jersey Voters Could Decide on Marijuana Legalization
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TRENTON, NJ — A bi-partisan bill has been introduced to legalize the possession of marijuana in New Jersey. If passed by the legislature, the law would not take effect in the state unless the voters approve it.

Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Plains) last week filed Assembly Bill 2842, a ballot initiative that would put marijuana legalization in the hands of New Jersey voters.

The bill proposes legalizing possession of up to one ounce of marijuana as well as marijuana paraphernalia used within the guise of the new laws. In order to get on the ballot, the bill needs to be passed by the State Assembly and Senate and signed by Governor Chris Christie.

If Assembly Bill 2842 passes the legislature, voters in New Jersey would be asked to approve legalizing marijuana possession in November.

If Assembly Bill 2842 passes the legislature, voters in New Jersey would be asked to approve legalizing marijuana possession in November.

If this bill is passed, New Jersey would be the first state to pass a marijuana legalization measure of any kind through a state legislature.

It should be noted that this bill does not address taxation, regulation or cultivation of marijuana and current criminal penalties still apply to possession of over one ounce.

Currently in New Jersey, possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana is a disorderly persons offense to possess, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

New Jersey currently arrests over 22,000 people every year for marijuana possession at a cost of over 125 million dollars of taxpayer money.  In contrast, with a taxed and regulated cannabis market, Colorado has generated over two million dollars in tax revenue since authorizing sales of marijuana, not counting law enforcement savings.

“As a society we are not well served economically by all the judges, probation officers, police and huge amounts of money dedicated to arresting people for a harmless plant and we are creating modern day ‘Al Capones’,” bill sponsor Assemblyman Carroll told The Daily Chronic.

When asked why this bill does not include establishing a taxed and regulated cannabis market, Carroll explained that the “government should get out of policing it (marijuana) entirely and I think this is the best we can get through the legislature at this time.”

“This would put the issue to the people,”  added  Assemblyman Gusciora. “More and more people are inclined to support legalization as opposed to decriminalization.  Police have better things to do with their time and we don’t have to make criminals out of college students or adults who aren’t committing any other crimes.”

Assembly Bill 2842 has bipartisan support and is expected to pass the State Assembly, but it is uncertain if the governor would allow the matter to be decided by voters.

Despite the results of a 2013 poll by Lake Research Partners which found over 59 percent of New Jersey voters support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has repeatedly stated that he would veto any bill that authorized the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana in the Garden State.

New Jersey does not allow for conventional ballot initiatives like Colorado or Washington, where petitions can be collected by citizens, submitted and verified in order to put a measure on the ballot.

New Jersey requires the legislature first pass the bill, which then must be signed by the Governor in order to be placed before voters.

The Daily Chronic contacted the office of Governor Chris Christie but they were unable to comment on the bill.

The complete bill can be found here.

 

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  • MaT

    I don’t care if 80% of the voters of NJ vote for legalization…. that rat bastid Christie will NEVER sign that bill into law. NEVER. If there is any way possible he can stall it, disassemble it, gut it, or otherwise ruin that bill – he will. He sabotaged the NJ medical marijuana program to the point of no return- at least not while HE’s still in office.

    • Mike

      In a just world, Christie will soon have enough legal problems to divert his attention from making legal problems for other people.

      In a just world, I remind you.

      BTW, who’s on deck to replace him if he finds he’s being treated like an Illinois governor?

      • Edo Edo

        Kim Guadagno. She is also against cannabis legalization, but at the same time, she doesn’t seem to have as strong of a personality as Christie. If she were governor, and it was brought before her in a bi-partisan manner, she may be convinced to allow the matter to be decided by voters.

        • Linda

          She is just like him and i know it, she and her office avoids conflict totally and does not do the honest and right thing for people now so they all have to go and we need new and honest leaders. Clean slate start anew

          • Edo Edo

            Oh don’t get me wrong. I believe the entire Christie administration is bad for cannabis reform, Guadagno included. My point was that her resistance to change may not be as steadfast as his. If for some reason she was governor and she was presented a bill to fully legalize by a majority of both parties in the legislature, she may choose to sign it rather than veto and fight the change. As you say, she avoids conflict… Who knows though? It’s all speculation at this point because in all likelihood, Kim G will never be governor of NJ…

    • Reymdo

      I would love to disagree with you, but this guy is a huge turd sandwich. His political career is done after this Tesla move, so maybe he’ll do us a solid and let us decide. We just got to hope he’ll get one thing right…

    • dh

      Its time for Christie to go. Any elected official who wont follow the will of the voters turns into a kim jung wacko. NO DICTATORSHIP ALLOWED IN A DEMOCRACY

      • junior

        I’m ,22 yrs old and, all my life I grew up in Church, And was told that it was bad to do anything close to smoking herb. But when you see someone who doesn’t have a life because they have a disease that can’t be fixed by any med’s in the world, But a plant that can. Theirs something really wrong with that, Christie should live with a house of people who can’t eat for days because of the 20 something med’s they are talking daily .Then he will see or until someone in his family has one of those DISEASES and has no chose but to take HERB to live a normal life. Then lets see what he will decide.( TO PASS OR NOT TO PASS ) It is time for State elected officials to remember it is us who elected them in the First place

        • john halka

          Christie would laugh at these people he is the devils minion a do nothing heartless crud.

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  • MikeParent

    What if Christie is on jail? Sarcasm off. I would love to see his large body in orange. Does anyone honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance Scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?

  • Shepherd Yerusalem

    Actually Marijuana is mentioned in the bible by name:

    1980, etymologists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem confirmed that cannabis is mentioned in the Bible by name, Kineboisin (Also spelled Kannabosm), in a list of measured ingredients for “an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compounded after the art of apothecary to be smeared on the head. The word was mistranslated in King James version as `calamus’ – Exodus 30:23 (Latimer 1988).

    The above means it was in the oil they used to rub on their skin, it was in the bread they ate called the Lord’s Supper, and it was in the incense that was burned in the temples.

    Marijuana is the Tree-Of-Life talked about in the bible, indeed it was a real tree that grew from the ground:

    Gen 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree, the tree of life was also growing in the garden…

    The above reveals that the Tree-Of-Life is indeed a real tree that grows in the ground.

    Rev 22:2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the ocean, was the tree of life. The foliage of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

    We are living in a day when the Tree-Of-Life (what the world calls marijuana) is healing everything it comes in contact with.

    The ONLY thing dangerous about marijuana are the cops who shoot people for having it:

    Number of American deaths per year that result directly or primarily from the following selected causes nationwide, according to World Almanacs, Life Insurance Actuarial (death) Rates, and the last 20 years of U.S. Surgeon Generals’ reports.

    TOBACCO – 340,000 to 450,000

    ALCOHOL (Not including 50% of all highway deaths and 65% of all murders) – 150,000+

    ASPIRIN (Including deliberate overdose) – 180 to 1,000+

    CAFFEINE (From stress, ulcers, and triggering irregular heartbeats, etc.) – 1,000 to 10,000

    “LEGAL” DRUG OVERDOSE (Deliberate or accidental) from legal, prescribed or patent medicines and/or mixing with alcohol – e.g. Valium/alcohol – 14,000 to 27,000

    ILLICIT DRUG OVERDOSE – (Deliberate or accidental) from all illegal drugs – 3,800 to 5,200

    MARIJUANA – 0

    (**Marijuana users also have the same or LOWER incidence of murders and highway deaths and accidents than the general NON-marijuana using population as a whole.** Cancer Study, UCLA; U.S. Funded ($6 million), First & Second Jamaican Studies, 1968 to 1974; Costa Rican Studies, 1980 to 1982; et al. LOWEST TOXICITY 100% of the studies done at dozens of American universities and research facilities show pot toxicity does not exist. Medical history does not record anyone dying from an overdose of marijuana (UCLA, Harvard, Temple, etc.)

    Accordingly a 1993 study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation came to the same conclusion as the above concerning marijuana and driving safety:

    “Marijuana, administered in a dose of 100 µg THC per kg of whole body weight…did not significantly change mean driving performance as measured…” – U.S Department of Transportation: Marijuana and Actual Driving Performance DOT HS 808 078

    The fact is people who use marijuana reflexes are not affected in a negative way and they become more conscious of safety, sometimes refusing to even drive.

    Marijuana is a plant with a safety record second to none.

    Anyone who would like to dispute these FACTS, point to a credible death that involves marijuana and nothing but marijuana, or hold your tongue.

  • Edo Edo

    What are the chances that this could be passed over Christie’s veto…? That would be sweeeeet….

    • http://www.drugpossessionlaws.com/ Drug Possession Laws

      Good question.
      His veto threat and power can’t be what it used to be.

      • Edo Edo

        His political capital isn’t what it used to be. Not even with Republicans…

        • http://www.drugpossessionlaws.com/ Drug Possession Laws

          Good news for everyone in New Jersey.

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  • SurferTim850 .

    As much as I favor legalization, I think this is the worst thing New Jersey can do. I am originally from California where this was tried in a slightly different form (decriminalization). It became a windfall for the Mexican drug cartels. A legal demand with an illegal supply. The Mexican and Jamaican drug cartels will be gunning down each other in the street for control of this market. Just my opinion…

    • Mike

      SurferTim,
      You make a very good point, in fact the most important point about why decrim or even this half-baked, partial legalization simply aggravates the failure of prohibition. It essentially changes nothing about the current system, which effectively works as a price support mechanism for the drug cartels.

      People want the bad things associated with prohibition to stop. You can’t do that by changing just one thing like arresting users. You need a supply, distribution, and individual use system that is all legal and above ground.

      • http://www.drugpossessionlaws.com/ Drug Possession Laws

        Agree, they would need to set up a real legal sales and distribution system to do it right, and beat the criminal enterprises. Anything less than what Colorado and Washington are doing doesn’t really make a ton of sense.

        Not arresting people is obviously a big deal a good start, but they would need to go further.

    • Dusty Relic

      I have to agree. I am all for legalization but if there is no legal path to obtain the weed then the end result will be more criminal organizations, more criminals profiting, and more crime including more collateral damage.

    • Edo Edo

      I agree with you in that the final piece of the puzzle is regulated sales and taxation to get money out of the hands of the cartels, but I do see this as a positive step in the right direction. There is a lot of discussion going around NJ trying to figure out ways to: 1) Revitalize casino and other tourism in Atlantic City and 2) Fund the public employee pensions effectively. Once the big step is taken to actually legalize cannabis, the lawmakers will find it easy to take to next step and get their hands on this new source of income. If cannabis shops are located in Atlantic City or surrounding areas, there’s your source of new tourism right there…

      • SurferTim850 .

        I’m not sure about that. I see it as a positive step to get marijuana banned completely in New Jersey. Why wouldn’t Christie sign a bill that is doomed to fail? When the shooting starts between the drug cartels, the opponents of legalization will all yell in unison “I told you so!!”. Have you been following the California effort to legalize pot? Hard times ahead for them for the same reason. Again, just my opinion…

        • Edo Edo

          If Christie could ban cannabis completely, he would. However, no bill would ever make it to his desk to sign. The majority of the legislature are Democrats and even some Republicans are more libertarian than social conservative. Christie used to have the political clout to accomplish his goals, but politicians are by nature self serving and very few of them, even the Republicans, want to put their jobs on the line by going against public opinion polls that reflect 60%+ in favor of legalization. They won’t take a step backward with cannabis now…

          I haven’t followed California’s effort enough to know the exact situation, though I think Jerry Brown is fighting a losing war in his state. I read an article the other day in which his Lt Governor called him on the carpet for his stance on legalization. That was an enjoyable read. The big difference between California and NJ is that in NJ, you cannot place an initiative before voters by gathering signatures. It has to go through the legislature and governor’s office first. In that respect, Christie has more power to block the will of voters than Jerry Brown does…

        • Mike

          Any politician trying to pass a bill to “completely ban cannabis these days should be laughed out of office. It hasn’t worked in any jurisdiction in close to 80 years. The only laws they should be passing are to UN-ban cannabis. Just saying…

          And how exactly is any of this going to cause “drug cartels” to “start shooting”? At least any more than they already do here? Mexico is a different story. The drug cartels LOVE marijuana being illegal. They cheer every time our movement has a setback, because the government is their price support mechanism.

      • john halka

        christie will never think with this enlightened attitude not enough heart or goodness he is slime!

    • Buzzby19491

      Unlike decriminalization, legalization takes the cannabis market out of the hands of criminal organizations and makes growing, distributing, and selling legitimate businesses.

    • john halka

      You are right because I can get weed just as good for cheaper then the so called legal marijuana. The greedy taxes are a windfall for the cartels they will have plenty of business to undercut the greed mongers.

  • ModernMan

    Does anybody know, specifically, how long the House has to garner it’s majority vote (in this case 21 in Senate, 41 in Assembly)? What time frame are we looking at before this ends up on Christie’s desk (and subsequently vetoes it)? The legislature would then need a 2/3rds majority vote to make it law.

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  • margie connolly

    It’s time for Christie to go! He is a threat to all of our basic freedoms.

  • margie connolly

    It’s time to get rid of Christie! He is a threat to all of our basic freedoms.

  • naturaltoker

    If christie was smart and plans on running for 2016 president elections he would please first the nj folk by totally legalizing pot here in nj then start talking about how he would start federally legalizing once in office. Almost 60% percent of americans want legal pot so if your running for president i think i would start targeting that demo for a clean 40% almost garunteed.
    Im just saying if i was running for president i would already be talking about legalizing federally

    • http://www.drugpossessionlaws.com/ Drug Possession Laws

      He has already staked out such a backwards position on pot, that it would be hard for him to walk it back.

  • JIM

    LIKE THE NJ WEEDMAN SAYS …JUST SAY NO TO CHRISTIE ….420 SMOKE FOR LIFE

  • junior

    .( TO PASS OR NOT TO PASS ) It is time for State elected officials to remember it is us who elected them in the First place

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  • Nicholas Giaccio

    See for yourself what the Bible says. The WWW Bible Gateway has concordances for the King James, the American Standard and four or five other translations. It’s easy to do word or verse searches.

    Marijuana & the Bible
    And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. — Ezekiel 34:29

    “The Lord said unto me, ‘I will take my rest and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs.’ ” — Isaiah 18:4-5

    Jesus • Medical Marijuana • Relevant Quotes

    “Lord, when did we see thee sick or in prison and came unto thee?” And the King will answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethern, ye have done it unto me.” — Matthew 25:39-40

    Go forth, and visit a prisoner today. http://www.hr95.org

    What is the Word of God on the Cannabis plant?
    The hemp plant (scientific name: cannabis, slang: marijuana) is one of the many useful herbs “yielding seed after its kind” created and blessed by God on the third day of creation, “and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:12) He gave hemp for people to use with our free will.

    God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat.” … And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:29-31) The Bible predicts some herb’s prohibition. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall … speak lies in hypocrisy … commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:1-3)

    The Bible speaks of a special plant. “I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.” (Ezekiel 34:29) A healing plant. On either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare 12 manner of fruits, and yielding her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelations 22:1-2) A gift from God.

    How was cannabis used in Biblical times and lands?

    Cannabis was used 12 ways: clothing, paper, cord, sails, fishnet, oil, sealant, incense, food, and in ceremony, relaxation and medicine. For so the Lord said unto me, “I will take my rest and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs. For afore harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches.” (Isaiah 18:4-5)

    What about cannabis today?

    Hemp today has thousands of uses. Modern technology has devised many new uses for the hemp plant&emdash;like biomass energy, building materials, fuel, plastic and so on. Hemp is ecological and its seed is among the best food crops on Earth. Selected varieties produce flowers that provide an herbal relaxant and a spiritual tool. Its herb is used globally as medicine.

    Does the Bible discuss drugs?

    Alcohol is the only drug openly discussed in the Bible, so it must serve as our reference. Wine is drunk during religious occasions such as Passover &emdash; the Last Supper of Jesus and His disciples. It remains a sacrament in modern church services.

    Jesus began his public life by miraculously turning water into wine at the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-10) when the reception ran out. The Bible distinguishes between use and misuse. It says, Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. (Proverbs 31:6-7) but Woe unto them that … follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! (Isaiah 5:10)

    Yet the simple joys of drinking were also sung. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man and oil to make his face to shineth. (Psalm 104:14-15)

    “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”Did Jesus speak about choice?
    He said not to criticize other people for their habits. “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; that which cometh out of the mouth defileth a man.” (Mat. 15:11) The apostle Paul wrote, I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. … For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Paul: Romans 14:14,17)

    Did He speak of government?

    Jesus said to keep church and state apart. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s and unto God the things which be God’s.” (Luke 20:25) As we have seen, it was God, not government, who gave man the herbs to use. And it was government that put Jesus to death.

    Property forfeiture laws?

    He warned us about seizure and forfeiture laws. “Beware of the scribes which …devour widows’ houses…. The same shall receive greater damnation.” (Luke 20:46-47) Jesus, too, was a victim. The soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part. (John. 19:33)

    What about the Drug War?

    Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9)

    It was God who created cannabis hemp and told mankind to use “every green herb” on Earth. The Bible speaks of mercy, healing and a persecution of God’s children. They persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. (Psalms 119:86) Prisons and drug wars do not save souls. The Lord… hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

    What should the ministry do?

    Teach God’s truth. Warn your congregation that the war on marijuana is unchristian and must be ended. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you will be no priest to Me … for I desired mercy and not sacrifice. (Hosea 4:6, 6:6)

    Remember: Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving…. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:4-6)

  • Nicholas Giaccio

    and now if god allows it then why do we have to put our hands on the bible in court to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help us god

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  • john halka

    The inhuman crud christie is a disgrace to NJ and the people of this state. He is a hated piece of filth who has his go no where stick it to the people attitude. We really don’t need ignorant politicians like him we need intelligent politicians christie is not one of these. We in NJ will not make progress while this no good slime is a govenor, and I use the term lightly.Republicans started the lies and christie is following up his do nothing for the people agenda. We have lost this wonderful herb in this state. Call your senators or do I mean worthless do nothings while the people suffer they fiddle their fiddles and do nothing for Americans. We have a lot of do nothings to get rid of weather republitards or democruds they got to go.