Marijuana advocates in New Jersey are planning a gathering in front of the statehouse Saturday to demand that marijuana be legalized in the Garden State. The rally, scheduled for 3 p.m., is the third organized in the Trenton so far this year.
Across the state, marijuana advocates have been pushing reforms to local laws and ordinances, building up to the state level, according to NJ.com. The organizers began their push in June when the town of Asbury Park passed a non-binding resolution calling for marijuana decriminalization in the state. Ultimately, they want that pressure to push Gov. Chris Christie to sign a bill legalizing pot.
Meanwhile, some families are fighting in New Jersey courts to ensure that students with disabilities are allowed to take edible marijuana at school without administrators being held responsible for that usage. People affected have filed for emergency orders from judges, indicating that the need to permit marijuana usage in these scenarios is immediate and can't be put off until state laws are changed. Organizers would also like the governor to sign a law allowing marijuana to be used at schools in these instances.
The movement in New Jersey reflects a growing trend in the United States toward decriminalization and legalization of marijuana for all uses. The trend started with Colorado and Washington state, and has spread to Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. Those states could soon be joined by up to seven more, including Ohio, which is set to vote on a legal marijuana voter initiative in November. Other states include California, Nevada, Maine, Hawaii, Missouri and Massachusetts.
Marijuana legalization is supported by the majority of Americans. In the early 2000s, 63 percent of Americans opposed legalizing the drug, compared to 31 who supported legalization. Now 53 percent support legalization against the 44 percent who oppose it, according to data from Pew Research released in April.
That dramatic shift in public opinion is at least in part fueled by great support from younger voters. Sixty-eight percent of millennials support legalizing marijuana. About half of the Generation X and Baby Boomer generations support legalizing marijuana. Just 29 percent of older generations support legalizing weed.