New Jersey Governor Plugs Legal Cannabis for Post-Pandemic Recovery

New Jersey Governor Plugs Legal Cannabis for Post-Pandemic Recovery

In a seemingly offhand comment winning much local media attention, New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy plugged legal cannabis as a boost to the state’s struggling economy, hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The words came in an exchange on the July 14 broadcast of the Jim Kerr Rock & Roll Morning Show on New York’s Q104.3 classic rock radio station. Murphy was clearly trying hard to be chipper amid a gloomy economic scenario. “We still need federal cash assistance direct into the state,” Murphy said. “That’s something that I hope that Congress will get to, sooner than later, that the president will sign. That’s another big slug that we need. We’ll look at revenues that we can potentially raise on our own…”  At that point, co-host Shelli Sonstein broke in, taunting in a sing-song voice over the governor’s sober intonation: “Mary-juanaaa….”  Murphy didn’t skip a beat. “Listen, as you probably know, I’ve been on that from day one,” he said. “The Legislature hasn’t been able to get there yet, but absolutely. That to me is an incredibly smart thing to do.”  He briefly sounded semi-apologetic: “We’re not inventing marijuana, it exists.” But he quickly followed up: “It’s got a huge social justice piece for me. The overwhelming percentage of persons nailed in our criminal justice system are persons of color. It’s a no-brainer in that respect.”  Indeed, as New Jersey’s Advance Media points out, police across the state arrest Black people 3.5 times more often than whites for cannabis offenses, despite the fact that both communities use it at similar…

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