New Jersey's Governor Phil Murphy photographed in 2015 in the lead up to his successful 2017 campaign bid.

Phil Murphy

New Jersey Gov. Open to ‘Sweeping Pardons’ for Cannabis Crimes

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is open to reducing or eliminating sentences for low-level cannabis crimes, telling that his main motivation behind legalizing cannabis is not to raise revenues but to correct the social justice problem.

Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama, said he would be open to, and is considering, “sweeping pardons.” He added that he is looking for a cannabis legalization law that is “airtight and comprehensive.”

Some Democratic lawmakers cool on Murphy’s reform plans. State Sen. Ron Rice, a former police officer who has co-sponsored a cannabis decriminalization measure, argues that “social justice is just secondary.”

“They want to move on money. It’s about taxes, They don’t care who they harm in the process.” – Rice to North Jersey

Assemblywoman Anette Quijano, who has sponsored a bill to expedite the expungement process after cannabis is legalized, said she would prefer the Legislature take up the issue rather than allow the governor to enact broad reforms through executive order.

“I am never a fan of transferring the power of the Legislature. I think [her bill] gets a fair hearing in the Legislature.” – Quijano to North Jersey

New Jersey ranked third in the nation in total cannabis arrests in 2016 during which 35,700 people were arrested for cannabis possession or distribution.

Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe

Have an additional perspective to share? Send us a message to let us know, and if your comment is chosen by our editors it could be featured here.


Latest Cannabis News

View all news Get email updates

Create a profile View all categories

From Our Partners