But Christie’s ability to block cannabis legalization is coming to an end soon in NJ. In November voters will pick a new governor, one that legislators hope is more favorable to the notion of legalizing:
The candidates for governor have a range of views on marijuana legalization, but none so far have shown the kind of visceral opposition that Christie has displayed.
A top Democratic prospect for governor, Phil Murphy, said he supports legalization. Democratic candidate John Wisniewski, an assemblyman, supports decriminalizing marijuana and creating a legal framework for a market. State Sen. Ray Lesniak says he backs decriminalizing marijuana but isn't entirely convinced of full legalization. Former Clinton administration official Jim Johnson backs legalization, and former Teaneck fireman and Democratic candidate Bill Brennan is supportive of legalization as well.
Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli, an assemblyman, favors decriminalizing marijuana possession for those who have small amounts, but doesn't back full-scale legalization. He voted against bills expanding the medical marijuana program. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno's spokesperson did not respond to requests on her position. Steven Rogers, a Republican commissioner in Nutley, opposes legalization for recreational marijuana but says he supports medical marijuana programs.
That means that this year legislators, led by Democratic state Senator Nicholas Scutari, will be laying the groundwork for a successful bill, holding hearings and garnering future votes.
Christie’s exit may also make way for a strengthening of the state’s restrictive medical marijuana law. In fact, no more Governor Christie pretty much improves marijuana law reform’s chances across the board in the Garden State.
Christie is the last of a dying breed, that of the hardcore drug warrior. The more of them that are out of political office, the better.