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Sen. Scutari Looks to Legalize Marijuana in NJ [POLL]

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Well, here we go again.

The same state senator who was a sponsor of the push to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana is now looking to introduce a bill that would legalize marijuana for recreational use as well.

Senator Nick Scutari of Union County hopes to have lawmakers consider a system similar to how medical marijuana is distributed – in which the product is cultivated and sold here in state sponsored facilities.

I give him credit. As a municipal prosecutor, he realizes the futility of arresting citizens who carry small amounts of marijuana on them; and even more so, how much money is lost by the state to those who dabble in the sale and distribution of pot.

Looking to create another revenue stream for the government; stop the incoming tide of illegal marijuana; and hoping to put a dent in the illicit drug trade are all laudable goals.

According to this report from

Scutari has said he intended to model the bill after Colorado, which netted $2 million in sales tax for the first month of marijuana sales in January. But revenue is not the most important impetus for the change, Scutari said, declaring the war on marijuana a “failure.” Changing the law would dry up the illegal drug market and clean up neighborhood street corners, he said.

“We’re not delusional about how simple the effort would be,” Scutari said. “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.”

And while I thought “fat chance getting it by Christie” – that his effort at getting a bill passed through the legislature would be a waste of time; technically it’s not – since it begins the discussion of eventually how to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana here once a new governor is in place (Sweeney perhaps?)

What probably is a waste of time is the countless hours and money spent on prosecuting recreational marijuana users.

Senator Scutari’s effort, while seeming futile; to me looks to be a good first step.

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