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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy boosting legalization campaign

By Nikita Biryukov, September 30 2020 10:39 am

Gov. Phil Murphy has joined the campaign to legalize marijuana.

The Democratic State Committee on Wednesday sent an email to its supporters. That communication saw Murphy arguing marijuana needed to be legalized as a social justice matter.

The governor framed the issue terms of race, pointing to the state’s roughly 35,000 annual marijuana arrests, which disproportionately target the state’s black and Hispanic residents.

“In fact, Black residents are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than White residents,” Murphy said. “Legalization would right those wrongs while also spurring massive economic development opportunities, job creation and new tax revenue.”

Polls have shown a solid majority of New Jersey voters back legalization — they’ve consistently pegged support for legalization in the Garden state above 60%.

But concerns about confusing ballot design and ballot drop off have pushed legalization backers to aggressively campaign ahead of a Nov. 3 referendum that will decide whether recreational use becomes the law of the land.

“Voting Yes on Public Question #1 will legalize marijuana for adult use, while also creating a new regulatory structure to make sure operators are following the law and ensure that minors are not able to purchase the product. Legalization will not be the end of the story — there is more work to do, particularly in expunging past marijuana-related offenses.”

The governor has also lent support to the legalization campaign from governmental platforms.

“Legalize it,” he tweeted from his gubernatorial account Tuesday, appending an image of a green New Jersey filled with cannabis leaves.

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