New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday he’s “highly confident” that voters will green-light a bill legalizing weed in the Garden State.
In an interview with radio station Hot 97, Murphy said the measure — which allows people over age 21 to use marijuana recreationally — will unclog the state’s criminal justice system by reducing minor drug-related crimes.
“I’m highly confident that today we will achieve a great milestone, and it is overwhelmingly a step toward, at long last, social justice,” Murphy told the station.
“When I came into office, the widest white/non-white gap of persons incarcerated in America and the overwhelming reason was low-end drug crimes. And please, God, we will finally wrestle this to the ground. It’s taken longer than I wanted, but I believe we’ll get there when we have the results from today.”
The widely popular constitutional referendum also allows the cultivation, processing and retail sale of the drug.
Lawmakers will need to pass a bill to regulate the marijuana market, which is currently being “baked,” Murphy said.
“One of the principles we had from day one was, you can’t do something prospectively that you’re not willing to do retroactively. There still needs to be — assuming it passes the referendum today — there still needs to be what they call enabling legislation, so that’s still being baked — no pun intended,” he said.
If the bill passes, New Jersey would become the 12th state to legalize pot, which will likely be subject to a 6.625 percent sales tax.
Last month, two-thirds of voters supported the bill in a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll last month.
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