N.J. lawmaker proposes legalizing pot

 Sen. Nick Scutari (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

Sen. Nick Scutari (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

A New Jersey lawmaker intends to introduce a measure to legalize marijuana in the Garden State.

Sen. Nick Scutari said his experience as the chief municipal prosecutor in Linden has convinced him that the war on marijuana has been a miserable failure.

Legalizing and taxing pot would generate revenue for the state and save millions of dollars spent each year on law enforcement, he said.

“It will end the unnecessary enforcement of these laws that needlessly put people behind bars and disproportionately affect minorities and the poor,” said Scutari, D-Union. “It will allow law enforcement to spend its limited resources on the prevention of serious crimes in our towns across our state without having to chase around these petty crimes.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Colorado’s legalization of pot has shown success, he said, adding that it’s time to change the drug laws across the country.

Gov. Chris Christie is adamant that marijuana won’t be legalized in New Jersey on his watch.

But Scutari is undaunted.

“We’ll continue and start a dialogue with the administration that’s in place now or any subsequent administrations,” he said. “This effort could take some period of time.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal