New Jersey residents are divided over legalizing marijuana, one of Gov. Phil Murphy‘s major campaign promises and priorities for the coming year.
A Stockton University poll released Wednesday found 49 percent of New Jerseyans said they were on board with expanding marijuana sales to adults 21 and older, while 44 percent opposed it and 5 percent said they were undecided.
“These poll results suggest there is not a consensus in New Jersey on whether marijuana should be made legal,” said Michael W. Klein, interim executive director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton.
Nearly one in four pro-pot people said they were persuaded by the potential tax revenue it would generate, while 22 percent said marijuana is safer than alcohol, and 11 percent said it was safer than tobacco and other cigarettes. Another 11 percent say they favored legalization because it would reduce law enforcement or prison costs, according to the poll.
One in four people said they would try pot for the first time or continue using it if it was legalized.
More than half of the opponents said they feared legalizing pot would cause health problems and create more addicts. Nearly one-quarter said they worried it would provide a gateway to harder drugs, the poll said.
Murphy’s hope to sign a law legalizing weed has hit a snag, as some state senators — including some fellow Democrats — have informally said they will vote no. Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, has not yet scheduled any hearings on his bill to change the law.
On another big priority for Murphy, nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, support his hike taxes on New Jersey’s millionaires, according to the poll. A total of 29 percent are against it and 3 percent are unsure.
The move would give the state about $765 million in new revenue.