Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in NJ
Seasoned Drug Possession Attorney in Roselle Park, Elizabeth, and throughout Union County, Essex County, and northern Middlesex County.
The issue of marijuana legalization has been a hot topic around the country as more and more states are legalizing the use of the plant for medicinal and recreational purposes. Medical marijuana is widely legal in the United States, including in New Jersey. It has gained understanding and acceptance as an alternative form of healthcare.
Beyond the realm of medicinal use, however, New Jersey is grappling with whether to expand its legality to recreational use and so far the majority says no. While the theme of recreational legalization has become somewhat a race between the states of New York and New Jersey, each group hoping to reap the tax benefits of the legalization in addition to props for being progressive neither has yet made the leap by gathering a majority of voters’ support. In 2019, when the state did not receive the necessary votes to legalize recreational marijuana, New Jersey’s governor Philip Murphy made a promise to expand medical marijuana’s prevalence by 700 percent, according to The New York Times.
What will the results of the legalization of recreational marijuana be? Both opponents and proponents of the measure wonder. Below are a few potential effects of the move to being a state that legally allows recreational use of marijuana.
Effects on New Jersey Tax Revenue
One of the proponents’ main reasons to support the legalization of recreational marijuana is the huge increase the state would receive in its tax revenue. Initial reports predict that New Jersey could see a $300 million boost annually.
A statewide vote to legalize the recreational use of marijuana could also have immense impacts on the job market. The bill that was voted down in 2019 even included language solidifying efforts to ensuring that women- and minority-owned businesses would be favored for licensing.
Driving Under the Influence Charges
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2017 submitted a report to the US Congress requesting a review of the effects of marijuana use on driver capacity. This followed a report to the US Congress years earlier by the United States National Library of Medicine, a subset of the National Institutes of Health, which released a study in 2012 that showed that meta-analysis found that “marijuana use by drivers is associated with a significantly increased risk of being involved in motor vehicle crashes.” This, however, could not be concretely verified. While National Highway Patrol reports for states like Washington and Colorado that legalized recreational use of the plant shows that there is often a very small rise in cases of Driving Under the Influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) immediately following legalization of recreational marijuana, but that the spike is short-lived, they can’t make a direct correlation between the legalization of recreational use and the DUIs. This is because, unlike alcohol, which leaves a body’s system after a number of hours, THC – the active ingredient in marijuana – stays in one’s system for up to a month. As such, it can be quite difficult for a law enforcement officer to subject a person to a blood test and gather any usable data about their present state.
New Jersey representative Nicolas Scutari from Union County, who sponsored the 2019 bill proposing legalization of recreational use of marijuana with Gloucester County legislator Stephen Sweeney, was reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer to have addressed the difficulty to determine whether a driver is operating under the influence of THC by saying that there are more accurate ways to determine influence, including field sobriety tests. Regardless of influence, there are already steps being taken by communities such as that of Trenton who have introduced measures to reduce advertisement of marijuana if it becomes legal, in hopes of lessening the impact of legalization, especially for younger users.
Release of Imprisoned New Jersey Citizens
There are thousands of New Jersey citizens in correctional facilities due to charges of minor drug crimes. New Jersey trails only New York and Texas for the number of people who are in jail on drug charges, a startling statistic given its small size relative to the other two states. If marijuana was legalized recreation-ally, many people who are serving time for low-end drug crimes would be able to integrate back into the community.
Consult a Union County NJ Criminal Law and Drug Crimes Attorney to Discuss Your Case Today
At Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, our legal attorneys are experienced in supporting clients across Roselle Park, Garwood, Elizabeth, and throughout Union County, Essex County, and northern Middlesex County who have been charged with illegally possessing marijuana.
Our direct approach ensures that clients’ rights are honored to the full extent of the law.