Legal cannabis in New Jersey… Are we ready? Most people seem to think so…

Over 700 New Jersey residents were surveyed on adult-use of legal cannabis March 22-29 by Stockton University. The statewide results showed close to an even divide between those who opposed and those who supported allowing cannabis in the state, with a slight advantage towards supporting full legalization.

Legal Cannabis NJThe survey revealed a majority of residents do not currently use marijuana, but some would be curious to try it. However, seventy-five percent of poll respondents say they currently abstain and would continue to do so. Only nine percent said they currently use cannabis. Yet, 15% said they do not currently use but plan to try it once legal cannabis is available.

Supporters of legalization cited a variety of reasons for their pro-cannabis viewpoints. Eleven percent favored reduced prison and law enforcement costs, 22% said cannabis was safer than alcohol or other drugs, 15% cited health benefits from using cannabis, and 24% were supportive due to the large tax revenues that are expected from adult-use.

Opponents of legalization cited a variety of reasons for their anti-cannabis viewpoints. Over 50% cite health problems or addiction, 24% feel it is a gateway drug leading to harder, more dangerous drugs, 11% feel it is addictive, 20% feel it is also bad for good health, and only 10% feel it is too difficult to regulate.

In contrast to these reasons, two studies were released earlier this week showing a major reduction in opioid prescriptions in states with medical cannabis programs.

This is the second recent survey showing support for adult-use of legal cannabis in the Garden State. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 59% voters in New Jersey support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

New Jersey residents overwhelmingly support the idea of using the revenue for tax relief throughout the state. With some of the highest property taxes, huge deficits, and budget shortfalls in the country, it is no surprise that people want to see the $60 million in expected revenue go back to the people and infuse into the state.

States with legal, adult-use programs have seen significant job and economic growth in their communities. In fact, the legal cannabis job market has seen an incredible growth of over 700% in just the last two years.

Governor Murphy has been moving forward on legalization. While some have harshly criticized the governor for not seeming to stick to his word about full legalization within 100 days of his taking office, Murphy has shown an unwavering commitment to cannabis since taking office. After immediately ordering an expansion of the New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, those initial plans were recently unveiled.

Governor Murphy and Senate Leader Sweeney continue to support legalization over decriminalization. Despite a recent decriminalization bill introduced by Senator Ronald Rice, only 1% polled in the Stockton poll supported decriminalization.

We are seeing the expansion of the medical program by Murphy. Opponents have offered a decriminalization bill as a compromise. We are definitely closer than ever to full legalization.

Photo Credit:By Cameek33 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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