One wrote, ‘I’m proud New Jersey voted to legalize marijuana. But we also need to free all of the people convicted of marijuana related charges and expunge their criminal records’
New Jersey and Arizona voters on Tuesday, November 3, authorized the constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana. About 60% of the voters approved the legal weed ballot question in New Jersey, thus materializing the efforts of the lawmakers for the last three years.
Accounting to the referendum shared by the Associated Press, Legalize Marijuana – Ballot Issue gathered a total of 1,632,122 votes approving the bill, while 798.064 voted against it. New Jersey, which is believed to be one of the largest marijuana markets in the country, will add to the 11 states that already allow recreational sales of cannabis. According to reports, a full third of Americans would live in states that have legalized the sale and usage of recreational marijuana. Meanwhile, Arizona voters passed Proposition 207, designated to allow people 21 or older to have up to 1 ounce of cannabis. While 1,435,509 voted in the favor of the motion, 959,988 were against it.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy promised to legalize marijuana within 100 days in office during his 2017 campaign. However, they did not receive enough votes in the state Senate and it was later decided that the ballot would be put on the people to be approved. Commenting on the latest development, Scott Rudder, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, told NJ.com, “Legalization is the result of years of hard work from a diverse group of individuals and communities. Senator Nick Scutari’s idea that used to generate snickers in the halls of Trenton when he first talked about it has finally become a reality.”
Even though Cannabis has been legalized, the public won’t have free access to it. The lawmakers still need to pass a bill governing the rules and regulations surrounding the industry. Governor Murphy, along with “assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, must still name appointees to a Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which will oversee the industry”. The reports further state that arrests related to marijuana will continue until the “legislature passes either enabling legislation or one of two bills seeking to decriminalization possession of marijuana”.
Therefore, many on the Internet are rallying for the “release” of inmates who are charged with weed-related crimes. One tweeted, “Arizona & New Jersey legalized marijuana tonight – huge W. Next: Expunge criminal records and release inmates with marijuana related charges.” Another wrote, “I’m proud New Jersey voted to legalize marijuana. But we also need to free all of the people convicted of marijuana related charges and expunge their criminal records! This is big for the state and the tax will benefit a lot.” A user tweeted, “When we legalize marijuana in New Jersey we expunge everyone’s record and free anyone that is in jail for marijuana charges! Give their kids back #DCF Give their freedom! Expunge their record!”