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Can marijuana legalization be on the horizon in New Jersey?

Some New Jersey residents have had to pay high prices for choosing to possess marijuana. The criminal and societal implications of being arrested for marijuana possession can cost good people their jobs, educations and reputations. Even the state pays a high premium for prosecuting and punishing possessors of marijuana, which one state legislator estimates to be more than $100 million annually.

While opinions on the substance differ regarding its safety and utility, the many costs affiliated with marijuana for both citizens and the state raise the question of whether legalization would benefit everyone in New Jersey. One state senator believes that legalization might just be the answer to resolving both a state drug problem and a state infrastructure problem.

State Sen. Nicolas Scutari proposes that New Jersey legalize marijuana possession and tax it. The proceeds of the tax could then be used to repair the many failing roads and bridges that plague drivers in the state each day. Scutari has acknowledged that Gov. Chris Christie opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use though Scutari also notes passage of the proposal could happen later in the future.

At present it is a crime to possess marijuana in the state of New Jersey and a person can face arrest and other drug charges depending upon his or her situation. The passage of Sen. Scutari's proposal could mean the end of persecution for New Jersey residents who choose to possess marijuana for non-medicinal use.

Until such time as Sen. Scutari's plan becomes law, New Jersey residents will continue to be subject to the active drug laws of the state. Criminal defense attorneys are available to help people facing marijuana possession and other drug charges defend their cases and protect their rights while operating in the state's criminal law system.

Source:, "NJ senator wants legalize marijuana to pay for roads," Geoff Mulvihill, March 24, 2014