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New Jersey Senator Wants To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use

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By Cleve Bryan

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – One New Jersey lawmaker says it’s high time laws against pot go up in smoke.

State Senator Nicholas Scutari filed a bill Monday to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Scutari says, “It’s time to update our archaic drug laws and get real about the detrimental effects that they’re having on the resident’s lives here in New Jersey.”

Scutari says he’s never tried smoking pot, but he believes current laws against simple possession waste time for police and scar people’s permanent records.

“I mean we allow people to drink beer on the weekends, we’re going to allow them to utilize marijuana on those weekends as well.”

Scutari’s plan would be similar to Colorado laws that started this year. Adults can have up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six plants. All sales would be regulated and taxed, potentially bringing in millions of dollars in new revenues.

He proposed a 7 percent sales tax rate with 70 percent of revenue going to the transportation trust fund, 10 percent to programs related to women’s health and 20 percent to drug enforcement demand reduction fund.

Also, you can’t smoke in public, drive a car or go to work, similar to alcohol.

There is one substantial road block, Governor Chris Christie, he will not legalize marijuana for anything besides medical use.

However, Scutari says, “He’s not going to be the governor forever.”

A poll released in February by Farleigh Dickinson University found 41 percent of New Jerseyans favor legalizing small amounts of pot.

Senator Scutari is the chair of the judiciary committee so if the bill is assigned there it will at least see one hearing. But ultimately, his goal is to create dialogue and educate his fellow lawmakers about marijuana.

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