Group Launches Campaign to Legalize Marijuana 
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Group Launches Campaign to Legalize Marijuana 
Posted by CN Staff on February 17, 2015 at 16:50:28 PT
By Heather Haddon
Source: Wall Street Journal
New Jersey -- A group of local prosecutors, civil-rights activists and health officials is launching an effort to make New Jersey the fifth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the U.S.The campaign, called New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, intends to push for state legislation that would legalize, tax and regulate pot distribution for adults in the state. If it is successful, New Jersey would join Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., in ending possession of pot as a criminal offense.
The New Jersey coalition was set to officially launch Wednesday during an event in Newark. The group has consulted with activists who helped win pot legalization in other states, said Udi Ofer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.“We need to take marijuana out of the parks and street corners and into licensed stores for adults,” Mr. Ofer said. “It would stop turning otherwise law-abiding adults into criminals.”The coalition will support legislation that restricts outlets from selling marijuana to those under the age of 21, regulates serving sizes and includes education about the dangers of drug abuse, Mr. Ofer said. Backers recommend restricting personal possession to an ounce of marijuana, or six pot plants grown at home for adults, he said.Republican Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly said he is against legalizing marijuana, and would veto any bill that came to his desk on the matter. Some law-enforcement officials in New Jersey have also expressed skepticism about any potential benefit to be gleaned from legalization.“To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey, and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that,” Mr. Christie said last year on his radio program.Still, proponents are looking beyond Mr. Christie to when a new governor is elected in the blue state. Mr. Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, will finish his second term in 2017 and can’t run again for governor. Several Democrats have indicated they want to run.State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat who sponsored a bill to legalize pot last year, said the next governor would be wise to consider the impact that tax revenue collected from legalized marijuana would have on the state’s budget. Mr. Scutari’s bill included charging 7% sales tax on pot sales, though he is open to adding an excise tax to it.“I tell people, you are going to need a lot of new revenue streams to hang your hat on,” said Mr. Scutari, a local prosecutor from Linden, N.J.A Quinnipiac University survey last year found New Jersey voters evenly split on legalizing marijuana, with 48% both for and against. Democrats, men and younger voters were more likely to support legalization.Roughly 21,000 people a year are arrested for illegal possession of marijuana a year in New Jersey, according to an analysis of FBI crime data by the ACLU. Individuals caught with less than 2 ounces of marijuana face a fine of up to $1,000, six months in jail and possible motor-vehicle license suspension.Jon-Henry Barr, president of the New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors Association, said pot arrests clog courts and distract law-enforcement officials from more serious crimes.“I think this is a wasteful activity from a law-enforcement perspective,” Mr. Barr said.Mr. Scutari’s bill hasn’t had a committee hearing in the state Legislature. He hopes it gets its first consideration in the spring.Mr. Ofer declined to say how much money the coalition will raise to support its efforts, but said this is a long-term push.“This is a campaign that’s going to win, no matter what it takes,” he said.Source: Wall Street Journal (US)Author: Heather HaddonPublished: February 17, 2015Copyright: 2015 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.Contact: wsj.ltrs wsj.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on February 18, 2015 at 08:03:22 PT
court of public opinion 
The court of public opinion has spoken. Now it is up to the government to follow through. The prohibitionists have got to recognize that fact and deal with it in a constructive and productive way. Throwing people in jail for a plant is an insane, expensive, and destructive policy. 
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on February 18, 2015 at 03:51:48 PT
Uncle Sam is so darn cute!
Acting like he is still relavant. 
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on February 17, 2015 at 18:54:34 PT
From gloovins link,
"Lawyers for the federal government argue that it is rational for the government to maintain the plant’s prohibitive status as long as there remains any dispute among experts in regard to its safety and efficacy."There will always be a dispute among so called "experts" regarding the relatively safe plant! So the IGNOIDS are saying it's rational for cannabis to be ranked with heroin forever.As long as there's a dispute among IGNOIDS, government will happy caging responsible adults who use a substance which is FAR safer than booze in almost every way.Experts defined = prohibitionists. Experts of cannabis prohibition, NOT CANNABIS. EXPERTS OF LIES, HALF-TRUTHS AND PROPAGANDA. Walking talking Vomit.-0-Oh, and it doesn't seem like people are going to wait on the court verdict to decide if they're going to use the God-given plant.
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Comment #2 posted by gloovins on February 17, 2015 at 18:14:07 PT
Closing arguments today....
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 17, 2015 at 17:52:51 PT
Bing bang boom
It's going to start looking like a race. New Jersey and Vermont are duking it out to be next.
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