New Jersey has become the 12th state to legalize weed.
According to Election Day results published by the New York Times, New Jersey residents overwhelming approved a constitutional amendment to legalize the possession, use, and sale of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The measure, listed as Public Question 1, states the Cannabis Regulatory Commission will be tasked with regulation and possession limits, as well as expanding marijuana for medical use. New Jersey legalized medical marijuana more than a decade ago, and there are currently a dozen licensed cannabis growers in the state.
Proponents of the legalization measure argued it was a racial justice issue, as Black and brown communities have been disproportionately affected by anti-marijuana laws.
"I’m highly confident that today we will achieve a great milestone, and it is overwhelmingly a step toward, at long last, social justice," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told Hot 97. "When I came into office, the widest white/non-white gap of persons incarcerated in America and the overwhelming reason was low-end drug crimes. And please, God, we will finally wrestle this to the ground. It’s taken longer than I wanted, but I believe we’ll get there when we have the results from today."
Under Public Question 1, recreational marijuana sales will be taxed at 6.625 percent, and municipalities where its sold can tax an additional 2 percent. Previous estimates indicated legal marijuana could generate about $1.8 billion in sales and over $210 million in state taxes annually.
Marijuana use remains illegal on the federal level, but a number of states and Washington D.C., have legalized its use for recreational purposes.
Marijuana legalization was also on the 2020 ballots in Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota.