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Push To Legalize Marijuana In New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) - Fresh off a tour of Colorado, a New Jersey State Senator is prepared to offer legislation that would, if approved, legalize recreational use of marijuana in the Garden State.

Union County Democrat Nick Scutari didn't sample the product, but noted how efficient and easily the state is running marijuana sales. Few problems for law enforcement, a lot of tax money coming in.

"I don't see how any reasonable and logical person can come to any other conclusion that we should legalize it, tax it and regulate it here in New Jersey," Scutari told KYW Newsradio.

Just how much money is at stake?

"We're talking about a billion dollar industry with lots of jobs, with lots of additional law enforcement resources that'll be freed up from not having to chase around marijuana offenders," he said. "And state direct tax revenue, a minimum of 300 to the outside 500 million dollars annually to state coffers."

State polling data suggests people would support the idea, but Governor Chris Christie won't.
Scutari dismisses an alternative that would restrict any legal marijuana sales and consumption to Atlantic City as a potential revenue enhancer to the city. He considers that option impractical.

Its sponsor, however, is pursuing a voter referendum in an attempt to circumvent Christie's opposition, although that's considered a long shot.

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