Drug crimes take a toll on New Jersey’s budget. And much of the time those crimes are marijuana possession.
The cost for marijuana charges over a decade rose into the billions. With the decision on the horizon to legalize marijuana, the cost for these charges and related legal action and punishment will decrease. The estimate noted in the legislation is $127 million. However, that savings will probably not trickle down to the taxpayer. Instead, the state may have funds available for other areas of the budget. The taxpayer will continue to pay the same amount.
There are estimates of revenues from the sale of marijuana, but those estimates are rough and it’s unknown if there will be notable benefits from this revenue in the years following legalization.
Most states have been closely watching how Colorado handles things since the legalization of marijuana almost five years ago. In Colorado, police departments have been able to shift their focus to other criminal activity, rather than marijuana possession. However, there are still complaints related to marijuana that require police attention on a regular basis.
Neighbours complain about the smell when someone smokes marijuana, leaving detractors with the impression that legalized marijuana makes more work for legal professionals rather than less.
In the meantime, legalization in New Jersey is garnering more and more support. Most recently, the Americans for Prosperity branch in New Jersey announced their support of the legalization measures.
The group was praised by the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association president for their support, as the act of varying groups working together to support the measure counteracts those who hope to win the fight against legalization.
Job creation and the decrease in marijuana-related arrests are among the main benefits both groups focus on in regard to the legalization proposals. Those who use marijuana for pain relief without doctor backing or those who use it simply to unwind will no longer have to worry about legal reprisal.