With most state legislatures adjourned for the 2019 calendar year, the New Jersey legislature is one of just a few legislative bodies that are still in session. With a year-long legislative session, state lawmakers have already debated and passed significant legislation related to the state’s medical marijuana program, solitary confinement and assisted suicide. Unfortunately, an effort to legalize adult-use marijuana stalled in the Senate after members of the House advanced HB 4477 earlier this year.
But the fight isn’t over. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney recently signaled that there would be a renewed effort to legalize and regulate the adult-use of marijuana. For advocates like Charlana McKeithen, executive director of Garden State NORML, the news has inspired new hope that New Jersey could be the second state to legalize adult-use marijuana through the legislative process.
“For the communities hardest hit by the disastrous criminalization of marijuana, for medical patients who are stuck paying high costs and taxes for their medicine, and for people locked out of higher education or employment due to a marijuana-related conviction, we must take action,” said McKeithen.
Looking to capitalize on the renewed effort to legalize adult-use marijuana in the Garden State, McKeithen and her team have organized another rally and lobby day to urge lawmakers to support SB 2703: the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act. Advocates will be meeting with their representatives in Trenton on Monday, September 23, 2019, from 11:45AM – 3:00PM EDT.
“We had a successful rally and press conference on August 27th at the State House in Trenton, and advocates from all parts of New Jersey came out in support of a more just Garden State. We aren’t stopping there,” added McKeithen. “Our presence will be felt on September 23rd and all the lobby days after. We cannot wait any longer; the time is now to do all we can to pass adult-use legalization and other marijuana reform legislation.”
Recent polling shows a majority of New Jerseyans support legalizing and regulating adult-use marijuana.