New Jersey's U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is a co-sponsor of legislation along with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, that would decriminalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substance Act.

Cannabis could also then be regulated and taxed.

Newark Mayor Corey Booker
Bennett Raglin, Getty Images

Thirty-seven states have already decriminalized the substance, and 18 of those states have fully legalized it.

In a retweet of a NY Times story about the bill on his personal account, Booker called it a historic day.

“We have never had this level of support to finally end the federal prohibition of marijuana and enact restorative justice,” Booker said.

Dr. David Nathan is a Princeton-based psychiatrist and educator. He is also the founder and board president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, the first and only national physicians’ organization dedicated to the legalization and regulation of cannabis in the United States.

And it all started here in New Jersey when Dr. Nathan was asked to join the coalition called New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform.

Dr. Nathan called me on New Jersey 101.5 to weigh in.

"You can't legalize it until you take it off the controlled substances act," Nathan said.

Marijuana plant at Compassionate Care Foundation's medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township
Marijuana plant at Compassionate Care Foundation's medical marijuana dispensary in Egg Harbor Township (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

"There are a few bills out there there was the More Act which didn't have much chance of passing, now there's this piece of legislation. There's also a safe banking act, which would remove the penalties for doing banking which kind of de facto make it legal," says Nathan.

"The problem is it wouldn't do anything except make it possible for large corporations to do business. We don't want to shut out the Mom and Pop businesses so we want to see something a little better and the Schumer-Booker legislation will do that."

Why is it taking so long to get legalized recreational marijuana to the streets of New Jersey?

"They're building it from the ground up. They're trying to get it right. They're trying to do the social equity and I think that does make sense. It's just a long process."

Over 400 Marijuana Stores Ordered To Close As City Regulates Industry
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Nathan says there's "low hanging fruit" here.

"I designed a labeling system that I testified about at the Cannabis Regulatory Commission meeting. Things like that they should be able to get done fairly easily."

How long will it take before we see legalized recreational marijuana on the streets of New Jersey?

"It's gonna take a while," says Nathan. "we don't have the supply. It's going to take a while before this happens trust me. I want to see it happen but it's going to be a while."

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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