Earlier this month, New Jersey held its primary election. The winners, who will go on to compete for the position of governor, are Phil Murphy and Kim Guadagno. Although it is still early in the game, the upcoming race will change state laws regarding marijuana. The current governor, Chris Christie, is rabidly against cannabis legalization. He has referred to it as poison, compared it to heroin, and even cited the gateway drug theory, which most experts agree is nonsense.
The NJ primary results have put forward two candidates who hold progressive views on marijuana. In fact, no matter who wins, the status of marijuana will change for the better.
Phil Murphy (Democrat)
When it comes to herb in the Garden State, Phil Murphy is all in. Throughout his primary campaign, Murphy supported a complete lift of the marijuana prohibition in New Jersey. Murphy held a career at Goldman Sachs for twenty-three years. But his motive for marijuana legalization is not money. In his victory speech, he said, “The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana. And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just.”
And as if that wasn’t enough to earn voters’ full support, Murphy pledges to eliminate for-profit prisons and mass incarceration. Um, yes, please.
Kim Guadagno (Republican)
The NJ primary results have also put Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno in the spotlight. Although she is a member of the same party as Chris Christie, her views on marijuana are a bit more lax. Just a bit. She is opposed to total legalization because the legislation would put her state at odds with Jeff Sessions. In a primary debate, she also cited personal experiences with drivers under the influence of pot as a reason not to legalize.
However, like most rational people, Guadagno is in favor of decriminalization. She also wants to make it easier for patients in New Jersey to access medical marijuana. “Children with proper doctors should have access to medical marijuana,” she says. “Veterans suffering from PTSD shouldn’t have to try every opioid before they get to marijuana.”