Marijuana legalization taking center stage in Gov’s race
Some are saying that it's an issue of social justice and others point to a rise in traffic deaths in states that have already legalized the substance. Phil Murphy is trying to make the issue about legalizing marijuana a social justice cause. It's not. Even if the goal was to help keep young men of color out of jail for a relative minor crime of smoking pot, Murphy's plan falls short. The state of NJ has been incapable of making good on the promise of legalized medical marijuana. They passed it, then the bureaucrats stepped in. Hard to get, expensive and the conflict created by the federal laws have cause families seeking the treatment for their kids to look out of state.
Same thing is likely to happen for recreational use. The cost will be high because of the desire for Murphy to increase taxes to pay for his billions in special interest giveaways and many users will be looking for cheaper more accessible "tax free" supplies. Look at the disaster of the NYC cigarette taxes. People earn money selling cigarettes outside of the law because they're cheaper. Eric Gardner was one of those caught up in a criminal activity designed to get around a cost prohibitive tax.
So on the revenue side, Murphy is wrong. Not only will he likely perpetuate the black market with his tax plan, but even if successfully implemented the projection is less than $400 million in revenue. Hardly a drop in the bucket when we're talking about $9 Billion just to fund education.
I believe strongly that medical marijuana should be available to patients through your local pharmacy, this should be done immediately. Competition will drop the costs and the availability will increase. The states dispensary system is failing the very people it intended to help. But on the other side of the discussion, as far as recreational use, to borrow a statement Murphy seems to be fond of in the debates, we simply don't have all the facts to execute this properly right now.
More from New Jersey 101.5: