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N.J. senator wants to legalize marijuana

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 24 2014 05:00:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 25 2014 05:31:10 AM CDT

Want better roads in New Jersey?

Want better roads in New Jersey?

One lawmaker says legalizing marijuana is the way to make it happen.

A state senator wants to tax the drug to raise money to fix the state's roads and bridges.

New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari is also a prosecutor and he says legalizing marijuana would cut down on drug crimes and make a lot of money for the state.

Scutari wants the state to go green, and he is not talking about recycling.

"Today I'm introducing legislation to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in New Jersey," said Scutari during an afternoon press conference.

The plan is modeled after Colorado's plan that went into effect earlier this year.

The lawmaker says this move would bring in additional tax revenue and save over $100 million due to the change in marijuana enforcement laws.

"It's not about the money, but certainly we can't ignore the benefits of having money at our disposal," added Scutari.

The bill could go up in smoke before getting out of Trenton.

Just last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told a crowd in Flemington, New Jersey, that he would not legalize the drug.

"I will not decriminalize marijuana," said Christie. "I will not permit recreational use and I will not legalize marijuana because I think that's the wrong message to send to the children in this state and to young adults."

It's already an issue that has split New Jersey residents.

“You know the revenue that would come in, there wouldn’t be a deficit,” added one woman.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea," said Jennifer Kinchley from Phillipsburg. "I think it gives people too much liberty and excuse to use something that I believe should stay illegal.”

Scutari says 70 percent of the revenue from pot would go to a transportation fund.

New Jersey already allows medical marijuana use.