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Could recreational marijuana use soon be legal in New Jersey?

Could recreational marijuana use soon be legal in New Jersey?

Many New Jersey residents know first-hand how serious drug possession charges can be in the state of New Jersey, even if it only involved a small amount of marijuana.

But that could change if a bill that has been introduced by a New Jersey state senator passes into law. The bill seeks to legalize recreational marijuana use for the purposes of raising tax revenue in the state.

According to Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), his bill uses alcohol regulation enforcement as a model for how the marijuana industry would be regulated. Essentially, he said the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control would be broadened to include regulatory authority over the marijuana industry as well.

However, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has already stated that he will veto a recreational marijuana bill, even if it passes through the legislature.

Even so, Sen. Scutari said he still has hope. He said the governor could change his mind after seeing the revenue that could potentially be raised by allowing New Jersey residents to buy and sell marijuana.

For example, in the month after recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado, the state brought in $2 million in sales tax, the senator pointed out.

If Gov. Christie still doesn’t get on board with the idea, the senator concluded that he’s “not going to be the governor forever.”

Until recreational marijuana use officially becomes legal in New Jersey -- which could be a very long time from now -- residents must take marijuana possession charges seriously.

All too often, people choose not to fight the charges and end up in a serious bind when they are denied a job or get hit with subsequent charges that are even more severe in nature.

Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help protect the rights of the accused and help build the strongest defense possible.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “NJ senator introduces marijuana legalization bill that aims to treat pot 'like beer',” Susan K. Livio

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