Press Release

New Jersey Voters Approve [Cannabis] Legalization Question

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State lawmakers must now act to end arrests and implement a commercial market.

New Jersey voters have overwhelmingly decided in favor of Question 1, which calls for amending the state constitution in a manner that accommodates for the adult-use possession, production, and sale of [cannabis] to those age 21 or older.

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “Garden State voters spoke resoundingly. They are demanding their lawmakers end the failed policy of [cannabis] criminalization, and instead pursue a more sensible path of regulation and legalization.”

He added: “Law enforcement in New Jersey arrests more citizens each year for minor [cannabis] violations than almost any other state in the nation. By moving to end this fiscally wasteful and morally repugnant policy, state officials will now be able to prioritize law enforcement resources toward combating more serious criminal activities, better respect the personal freedom and civil liberties of their citizens, end the racist application of [cannabis] prohibition laws against communities of color, and direct new tax revenues toward important social programs such as education and infrastructure development.”

Carly Wolf, NORML’s State Policies Coordinator also added: “Because Question 1 is a non-binding, legislatively referred ballot question, the New Jersey legislature must now take immediate action to draft and implement enabling legislation in a manner that is in accordance with voters’ sentiments. Their first priority should be bringing about an end to the tens of thousands of low-level [cannabis] possession arrests that occur each year in New Jersey. Once this is accomplished, they should then expeditiously move forward to meet voters’ second demand, which is to initiate regulations to license and oversee the commercial cannabis market in New Jersey.”

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NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of [cannabis] by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use [cannabis] responsibly are no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for [cannabis]-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

Find out more at norml.org and read our Fact Sheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country

Contact:
Erik Altieri
NORML Executive Director
703-231-2325
media@norml.org

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