Pot pardons? Murphy would give it consideration
TRENTON — If New Jersey legalizes marijuana, would past transgressions be forgiven?
When asked at a press conference about issuing "wide-sweeping" pardons for those who have been convicted on "low-level" charges related to marijuana possession, Gov. Phil Murphy said he would consider it with an eye on correcting past social injustices.
Citing what he called "racial inequities in low-end drug crime," the governor said, "If all we do is reset the table on Monday and ignore what happened up until Friday, I think we will not have done our job, so the answer is we have to be open-minded to that."
Murphy, whose push for the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey during the campaign also touted its tax revenue benefits, has had a hard time getting legislation passed. His first proposed budget includes $60 million in marijuana-related taxes assuming it is legalized for use by adults by Jan. 1, 2019. However, no bills have reached the hearing stage in the legislature.
The credit rating agency Moody's Investor Service said in a study released Tuesday that legalizing recreational use of marijuana brings governments more money than it costs to regulate it.
Most of the states that have legalized marijuana earmark the revenue for law enforcement, drug treatment, and other specific programs, which doesn't help the states' financial flexibility.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has also voiced concerns about what legalization will mean for detecting those who are impaired, and testing drivers.
Grewal said he expects businesses will be updating their employee handbooks.
"Employers now have a lot of restrictions. You can’t have — alcohol is legal, but you can’t show up to the workplace drunk,"Grewal said. "I’m sure employers will put in place similar restrictions on employees operating equipment in a drugged state."
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.