Although the novel coronavirus has stymied a number of cannabis legalization efforts across the country this year, most notably in New York where Gov. Cuomo has been trying to pass legislation for a couple of years now, there seems to be some good news coming out of New Jersey. According to the New Jersey Globe, a referendum to legalize small personal amounts of cannabis leads by a 61 to 34 percent margin.
The poll, released by Monmouth University had good news all around for cannabis lovers in the Garden State. Overall, the legalization of small, personal amounts of cannabis has the support of 62 percent of the state, versus 32 percent who oppose it. That represents a three-point increase for the measure since the poll was last taken in February.
“Support for the marijuana ballot measure is widespread in part because many who have no opinion on whether legalization is a good idea figure they might as well vote for it,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told the New Jersey Globe.
While the measure has broad support throughout every county in New Jersey, legalization finds the most support among Democrats, men, and younger voters in the 18 to 34 age bracket. About 60 percent of those surveyed believe that it would be a boost to the state’s economy, while there are a few who worry about its effects on other drug crimes.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who has been promising to legalize cannabis since before he was elected, said that legal marijuana could generate upwards of $60 million in tax revenue over six months.
“Marijuana I haven’t really talked about. I wish we already had it, frankly, because it would be a source of revenue, putting aside the social injustices, which would have been addressed,” Murphy said on March 26, according to the New Jersey Globe. “We’re late to it, mostly for social injustices, but could we use the revenue right now? Yes. But I don’t think we’ve had any discussions — I know I haven’t — about moving it forward.”
Police still targeting African Americans for cannabis crimes
Jason Antonio Mitchell, the actor, most famously known for his portrayal of the late Hip Hop Artist Eazy-E in the hit film “Straight Outta Compton,” was arrested earlier this week after a routine traffic stop in South Mississippi. According to reports, police found two pounds of marijuana and 1300 ecstasy pills on him at the time. They also found a Glock 9mm pistol with extended magazines and an AK-47.
According to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, they found evidence of a mid-level drug operation.
As most of the country begin to legalize cannabis, Mitchell’s arrest shows the continuing racial disparity that still needs to be overcome before there can be any equality in the industry.
Michigan Senate GOP postures over cannabis and COVID-19
And finally, on Twitter today, the Michigan GOP continued to show how they misunderstand the severity of the global pandemic at hand and the needs of their constituents. In a tweet, they complained that Gov. Whitmer’s stay-at-home order allows citizens to purchase cannabis but not Garden seeds.
We present to the Michigan GOP the case for why labeling cannabis essential is a useful harm reduction practice.
Images: Jason Mitchell (Harrison County Sheriff’s Department), Hoboken, NJ