Marijuana Reform Coalition Praises NJ Gubernatorial Candidate for Endorsing Marijuana Legalization

May 31, 2016

NJUMR lauds former Ambassador & 2017 gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy for endorsing the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana for adults

Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy has publicly endorse legalization of marijuana for adults, earning him praise from New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, a nonpartisan coalition seeking to legalize marijuana for adults in New Jersey. This position of the candidate, who on May 16 publicly announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for New Jersey governor, was first reported by The Star-Ledger's Editorial Page Editor Tom Moran in a Sunday column arguing passionately for legalization. Joseph Rudy Rullo, a declared Republican candidate for New Jersey governor in 2017, also supports marijuana legalization.

A June 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton poll (PDF) found that 58 percent of New Jerseyans support the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older.

The following statement about Ambassador Murphy's endorsement is attributable to Richard Smith, president of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, on behalf of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform:

"We welcome Ambassador Murphy's support for ending our broken marijuana prohibition laws. These laws have failed New Jerseyans for far too long. Anyone who hopes to become governor must be committed to ending prohibition and support replacing it with a safe and responsible legal marijuana system for adults. We look forward to all prospective candidates — regardless of political party — announcing their support for marijuana legalization.

"With more than 24,000 marijuana possession arrests by New Jersey law enforcement each year, and Black New Jerseyans nearly three times more likely to be arrested than Whites, legalization of marijuana is a civil rights priority and an economic imperative. Legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana for adults will both provide a tremendous revenue boost to our state and advance a critical social justice initiative.

"There is no reason to wait for a new governor to move forward. Murphy's early stance against marijuana prohibition shows how dramatically the political winds have shifted in favor of legalization, both in New Jersey and nationally. Continuing the war on marijuana is less popular among New Jersey voters than making marijuana legal. The time to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults is now."

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