In his inaugural address, New Jersey’s newly-installed governor, Phil Murphy, reaffirmed his campaign promise to legalize marijuana in the state. Governor Murphy’s position is no surprise. The governor’s campaign included marijuana legalization as part of its criminal justice platform, promising to “[l]egalize marijuana so police can focus resources on violent crimes.”
Using the refrain “a stronger and fairer New Jersey,” Governor Murphy continued to situate his call for marijuana legalization within the framework of criminal justice reform. The governor stated, “A stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces comprehensive criminal justice reform – including a process to legalize marijuana.” Given that State Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (D – LD 22) has already introduced his bill to legalize marijuana in the Senate, all indications are that the push to legalize marijuana in New Jersey has begun in earnest. People and businesses interested in this emerging industry and its prospects should consult with an attorney to be certain they are up-to-date on the progress of this historic change in the law.