Voters would decide if N.J. legalizes weed under brand new proposal

By Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for

WASHINGTON — A pair of state lawmakers — one Republican and one Democrat — are working on a proposal that would allow New Jersey voters, rather than legislators, to decide whether to legalize marijuana in the Garden State.

Currently, New Jersey’s leaders are hoping to legalize weed here by having the New Jersey Legislature vote on a bill that would tax and regulate recreational pot use for people 21 and older.

But state Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen, and state Sen. Ronald Rice, D-Essex — both of whom are against legal weed — have a different plan.

Schepisi and Rice told NJ Advance Media they are sponsoring a measure that would allow for possession of small amounts of marijuana — up to one ounce — but only if the state’s voters approve it in a ballot referendum.

Schepisi said this would give voters not only a say but time to become educated on the pros and cons of marijuana legalization before making up their mind.

“Right now, they’re just hearing soundbites,” Schepisi told NJ Advance Media on Thursday during the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Walk to Washington” train trip ridden by New Jersey lawmakers, local officials, business leaders, and lobbyists.

“Let’s allow the public to become educated before they make a determination of whether or not this is what they really want,” she added.

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