Most New Jerseyans Favor Marijuana Reform, But Public Education Is Needed
A recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson showed than 68 percent of New Jerseyans favor changing the State’s marijuana laws, but when those numbers are broken down only 42 percent favor full legalization while 26 percent favor mere decriminalization.
This is where public education is necessary. Those 26 percent of people who favor decriminalization probably feel that way because they do not like the racial disparities that exist in the criminal enforcement of marijuana or how too many people are sitting in prison for marijuana convictions. The mere decriminalization of marijuana, however, will not necessarily solve those problems.
Legalization makes marijuana possession, use, and sale fully legal, although a state will heavily regulate it like it does alcohol. Decriminalization removes the criminal penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana, but imposes a fine. Arrests still occur when those fines go unpaid or, in some states, where a person is fined more than two or three times. Those possessing larger amounts of marijuana or those selling marijuana are often still subject to criminal liability.
As New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform explains, there are still thousands of arrests every year in states that have merely decriminalized marijuana. Without full legalization in New Jersey, arrests will continue.
Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is carefully monitoring developments in New Jersey and federally with respect to marijuana legislation and will be available to help its clients navigate the sure-to-be complex regulatory framework of this potential business frontier.
Please contact CJ Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201.270.4930 for further information.