Bold legislation introduced in New Jersey last week would not only treat cannabis like tobacco — legalizing it — but would expunge records for individuals previously convicted of certain marijuana-related 'crimes.'
Should the bill, A4193
, pass, convenience stores would be permitted to sell cannabis alongside cigarettes — available to anyone aged 19 and older.
"This bill would legalize marijuana by removing all criminal liability associated with marijuana from the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice ... as well as its regulation as a controlled dangerous substance under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act," the proposed law states.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll — once deemed the state Legislature's "Most Conservative
" member, as the Newark Patch pointed out
— the legislation "[l]egalizes marijuana and provides for records expungement for certain past marijuana offenses; treats marijuana products similar to tobacco products, including the use of civil penalties for providing marijuana to persons under 19 years of age."
Carroll's bill audacious thumbs its nose at the DEA's vehemently criticized decision this year not to reschedule cannabis from its current inexplicable designation as a dangerous substance of no medical value, akin to heroin or cocaine.
To me it's just not a big deal,"
Politico. "It's already ubiquitous. Anybody who thinks this is somehow going to increase the availability of marijuana has never been 19. If that's the case, then what's the big deal about having it available at the local 7-Eleven?"
Alcohol, after all, is a standard fixture at convenience stores and gas stations, with store owners facing fines and other civil penalties for underage distribution.
"The whole point here is to get the government out of the business of treating at least marijuana use as a crime and treat it instead as a social problem,"
Carroll continued, adding he's never tried cannabis, personally.