Poll finds growing support for decriminalizing pot in N.J.

A new poll shows support for a measure to decriminalize marijuana possession in New Jersey.


Sixty-one percent of the voters in a poll commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance support a bill, now stalled in the Legislature, that would make possession of less than 2 ounces of pot punishable by a fine.

It costs the state more than $127 million a year to enforce the current law that provides for up to six months in jail, according to Roseanne Scotti, alliance state director.

“I think people just realize that the war on marijuana has been a failure, that we are destroying people’s lives, that having a drug conviction can have lifetime consequences,” she said.

An overwhelming majority of voters say they’d either be more likely to vote for an elected official who supported lower penalties, or it would not influence their decision.

Gov. Chris Christie has said he’d veto any decriminalization effort.

The measure stuck in the Legislature for more than a year would treat possession of small amounts of pot like a traffic violation punishable by a fine rather than a criminal offense.

New Jersey has one medical marijuana dispensary in operation in North Jersey and has recently approved plans for a second location in Egg Harbor Township.

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