Reaction continues to be mixed after New Jersey approved the framework for officially legalizing recreational marijuana.
- Nearly four months after voters in New Jersey approved legalizing adult use of recreational marijuana, Governor Murphy today signing the new legislation into law. There are those who favor decriminalization but not legalization. But the economic pressures of this pandemic recession just too powerful and too lucrative in terms of state tax revenue.
Here's New Jersey reporter Anthony Johnson.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: The biggest battle getting to this point was to ensure that people under the age of 21 don't become pot users. But there was a lot of emphasis on adult use and overturning decades of laws that did damage in poor and disadvantaged communities.
PHIL MURPHY: New Jersey's broken and indefensible marijuana laws, which permanently stained the records of many residents and short circuited their futures and which disproportionately hurt communities of color, are no more.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: The governor signed three bills that seek to lessen the impact of the black market, reduce the burden on the courts, creates jobs and economic development, and promotes social justice.
SAMMY SALLOUN: I think it's a good step in the right direction, you know. A lot of people are stressed out and freaking out. And you know, there's nothing wrong with marijuana. It comes from the ground.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: There are already medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. And some of the patients support the move to allow recreational use.
QUATEY FRANKLIN: I overcame the opioid addiction because my doctors were smart enough to say, hey, don't take those pills. You might want to benefit from medicinal marijuana. So the benefits outweigh the risks.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: The governor estimates it will take up to six months to get the pot business off the ground in the state, but he also says people whose lives have been wrecked by small pot arrests will now have a chance to turn things around.
PHIL MURPHY: Lives that have been nicked up or, in some cases, ruined will be able to correct, at long last. And for this moment going forward, we won't have to see that same chapter written again in our state's history.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: So under the new law, anybody under 21 found with possession of marijuana will get written warnings, then parental notification, and finally, community service.