Yesterday was a big day for cannabis reform, especially in New Jersey where Clifford Robinson played for the New Jersey Nets from 2005-2007. Yesterday was Election Day in New Jersey, with voters selecting a new Governor to replace staunch cannabis reform opponent Chris Christie. As the Uncle Cliffy team has pointed out before, the 2017 Governor race in New Jersey featured Phil Murphy and Kim Guadagno as the two major party candidates, and the outcome would largely determine cannabis legalization’s chances in New Jersey in 2018.
Phil Murphy was very clear during the campaign that he intended to help make cannabis legalization a reality in New Jersey if he won the race, whereas his opponent opposed full legalization. Fortunately for cannabis legalization efforts in New Jersey, and for social justice in the Garden State, Phil Murphy won the election. He doubled down on his campaign promise to end cannabis prohibition during his victory speech, as outlined below in a press release from our friends at NORML:
After making the legalization of marijuana a core issue in both his primary and general election campaigns, Democratic candidate Phil Murphy has claimed victory in the New Jersey gubernatorial election over Republican Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno.
In fact, in his primary victory speech, Phil Murphy proclaimed his desire to sign a marijuana legalization bill within his first 100 days in office.
“Candidates across the country should take notice, as Phil Murphy won the Governor’s seat soundly because of, not in spite of, his open and vocal support for legalizing marijuana – a position supported by 65% of New Jersey voters and 64% of Americans nationwide,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “NORML looks forward to working with Governor-Elect Murphy and other stakeholders in the state to end the disastrous policy of marijuana prohibition and to implement the moral, economic, and scientifically sound policy of legalization and regulation in the Garden State.”
Polling data released this week by Predictwise/Pollfish Survey revealed that a 65% of New Jersey voters support legalizing marijuana outright.
Currently in New Jersey, a possession conviction of anything under 50 grams of marijuana can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The ACLU-NJ found that police make a marijuana possession arrest in New Jersey on average every 22 minutes and that black New Jerseyans were three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite similar usage rates.
It will be interesting to see how things play out in New Jersey, and equally interesting to see how ramped up legalization efforts in New Jersey will affect surrounding states such as New York and Connecticut. Cliff Robinson was born and raised in New York State, and played college basketball in Connecticut. Cliff has seen firsthand the failures of cannabis prohibition in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York, which is why he fights so hard to help reform efforts in those states and will continue to do so until all three states free the plant. Congratulations Phil Murphy, please keep your campaign promise!