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New Jersey State Senator introduces bill to legalize marijuana

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A New Jersey State Senator introduced a bill to legalize marijuana on Monday, making the Garden State the latest battleground for pro-legalization efforts.

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Sen. Nicholas Scutari, (D-Union), introduced legislation on Monday that would set up a taxed and regulated system for retail marijuana similar to that of Colorado, where recreational sales of the drug for those over the age of 21 began in January.

“Anybody that looks at the facts, knows that the war on marijuana has been a miserable failure,” Scutari said in a press release. “We’re not delusional about how simple the effort would be, but I think from a standpoint of moving this state and this country forward on its archaic drug laws, I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

His constituents apparently agree. A poll posted on NJ.com on Monday showed that over 92% of the nearly 1,000 respondents favored legalization. A nationwide poll released by Gallup in October found that 58% of Americans supported marijuana legalization.

Even if the new bill passes both houses, it’s highly unlikely that New Jersey would become the third state to legalize pot. According to the Star-Ledger, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has “repeatedly said he would never sign legislation that legalizes or even decriminalizes marijuana possession because of the message it would send to kids.”

Calling the governor “a man of facts,” Scutari said he hoped Christie would change his mind after reviewing the revenue possibilities. Colorado recently announced that the state netted $2 million in sales tax revenue from retail marijuana in just the first month.

And even if Christie refuses to budge on the issue, "He's not going to be the governor forever," Scutari said.

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