The amendment was projected to pass, according to a recent poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University before the election, which showed that roughly 60% of likely voters were going to vote “yes,” CBS New York reports. New Jersey is the first state in the mid-Atlantic region to legalize recreational marijuana and is the 12th state to do so in the U.S.
“This is a great day for New Jersey. After years of political inaction, voters have definitively approved marijuana legalization,” Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told CBS New York.
New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari told CBS New York the measure was a racial justice issue, adding that arrests for possession are disproportionately higher for Blacks and Latinos. He also says it’s about money.
“Create economic engine for the state, moving forward, but not just taxation, but with job creation,” Scutari said.
New Jersey isn’t the only state considering recreational marijuana legalization, with voters casting their ballots to decide whether weed will be fully legal in Montana and South Dakota. A separate measure in South Dakota is on that state’s ballot to determine whether to allow the legalization of medical marijuana. Mississippi is also considering the legalization of medical marijuana.
Arizona voters passed a similar measure on Tuesday night: Proposition 207.
According to the Arizona Secretary of State, “The law would allow limited marijuana possession, use, and cultivation by adults 21 or older; amend criminal penalties for marijuana possession; ban smoking marijuana in public; impose a 16% excise tax on marijuana sales to fund public programs; authorize state/local regulation of marijuana licensees; and allow expungement of marijuana offenses.”