Election Day is November 3, 2020. On the ballot in New Jersey is a public question regarding legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the state. According to a recent poll from last July, New Jersey residents favor legalization by a margin of 68% ‘for’ and 26% ‘against’ with 6% ‘undecided’. So, the Public Question is expected to pass. If everything moves forward in New Jersey, New York is on track to follow suit in 2021 with its’ push for legalization.
New Jersey Governor Phil; Murphy has been pushing for legalization since the start of his campaign for Governor and after his election. Despite Governor Murphy’s best efforts, the legalization push was stalled in the NJ State Legislature. Now with the ‘Public Question’ poised for approval, it is expected that New Jersey should be able to end prohibition of cannabis in the Garden State. Once accomplished in New Jersey, this should motivate New York to follow suit. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing for legalization is his state.
Billions of dollars are at stake as well as well-needed tax revenues, as most states and municipalities in both states are badly in need of revenue, especially as a result of the pandemic.
Legalization in New Jersey is expected to have a domino effect in the Northeast. Legalization in New Jersey will likely lead to the creation of the biggest marijuana market in the world including New Jersey (population 8.9 million), New York (population 19.5 million), Pennsylvania (population 12.8 million), Connecticut (population 3.6 million) and Rhode Island (population 1.1 million).
The governors of each of these states are pushing for legalization including Governor Murphy of New Jersey, Governor Cuomo of New York, Governor Lamont of Connecticut and Governor Raimondo of Rhode Island.
Recreational marijuana is already legal in Massachusetts. In Maine, legal adult use marijuana begins this month (October 2020).
A coalition of public officials in New York has proposed cannabis legalization in NY as a way to offset tax revenue losses caused by the economic contraction resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) in a recently published report on closing budget shortfalls included a section suggesting marijuana legalization in NY. Governor Cuomo has pushed for cannabis legalization in his past two budget proposals.
The stigma and public opinion on this issue continues to change dramatically. For instance, a local New York City law passed this past summer prohibits pre-employment drug testing for marijuana.