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New Jersey voters approve recreational marijuana

New Jersey voters approve recreational marijuana
© David Tran/iStock

New Jersey residents on Tuesday voted to legalize recreational marijuana use, The New York Times reported, according to preliminary results from The Associated Press.

The constitutional amendment will allow the possession, sale and use of cannabis for Garden State residents 21 and over. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) campaigned on legalization in 2017 but lawmakers hit a stalemate when they attempted to address the issue in the state legislature.

The results make New Jersey the 12th state legalizing recreational marijuana but the first to pass it as a ballot measure.

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Pro-legalization lawmakers in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and New York expressed optimism that the results could create momentum for their states as well. New York has struggled to resolve a similar impasse in the state legislature.

“I’m going to cheer on New Jersey,” New York state Sen. Liz Krueger (D) told the Times, “and hope that it helps us beat them to the punch.”

New Jersey was one of four states with legalization on the ballot, with the others including Arizona, Montana and South Dakota. The constitutional amendment includes a 6.6 percent state sales tax, with the option for municipalities to apply their own 2 percent tax.

The remaining details will again be left to the New Jersey legislature, as well as a five-person regulatory commission.

“We’re anticipating moving very quickly with enabling legislation, which would in fact allow medical marijuana shops to sell to the general public immediately,” New Jersey State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D), a longtime legalization advocate, told the Times. “We’re happy to invite New York residents over to enjoy.”