TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey voters approved the use of recreational marijuana on Tuesday, but it will be a long time before smoking or potty use is legal in the state. While an estimated two-thirds of voters approved a poll to legalize marijuana use, Free Light Day could be a while longer.
“I would say at least a year. It will probably be at least next Christmas before we even get a whiff on some sales, ”said activist Jay Lassiter.
Lassiter advocated medical marijuana years ago and was instrumental in getting recreational marijuana on the ballot.
“There will be a huge gap between the time the voters requested this change and the time the change actually goes into effect. If we don't keep the pressure up, lawmakers will go sideways and forget about it and depreciate something that New Jersey voters asked for, ”Lassiter said.
On Monday, lawmakers in Trenton will begin the process. A bill decriminalizing the possession of up to six ounces of marijuana and distributing one ounce is being discussed.
According to Lassiter, decriminalization is important because without it, people could be arrested while rules and regulations are being implemented for the new industry.
"We all pay, whether you're Republican, Democrat, or somewhere in the middle, we all pay for people whose lives have been put at risk from low-level arrests. They get arrested, can't get the right job, can't get financial aid , lose children, ”he said.
In addition, the Senate will hear a bill on Monday that will establish the industry. This includes who is authorized to sell marijuana. The new industry is regulated by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
“New Jersey stands ready to mark its position as a leader in promoting racial and social justice. The opportunities for justice that lie before us are limitless, and I look forward to using them to benefit the communities in New Jersey that have been disproportionately harmed by previous policies, ”said Dianna Houenou, director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
Both bills are taken in the New Jersey Senate Monday morning at 10 a.m.
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