Tuesday’s Election Was a Big Deal for Marijuana Advocates

Democrats are celebrating after winning multiple major elections on Tuesday, but there’s a reason for marijuana advocates to be celebrating too.

As Tom Angell at Forbes notes, the Democratic candidates who won governors seats in Virginia and New Jersey campaigned on changing marijuana laws.

Phil Murphy, the Democrat who won in New Jersey, will be replacing long time drug warrior Chris Christie. Furthermore, he made the legalization of marijuana in the state one of his central campaign promises. As we noted before, even the Republican in that race was more lenient when it comes to drug laws than Christie was. New Jersey’s legislature has been trying to legalize marijuana for some time now, so it seems likely to happen once Christie isn’t blocking it.

“The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana,” Murphy said after he won the Democratic primary, as Vox noted. “And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just.”

In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam won the election, and he support marijuana decriminalization. “We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana,” he wrote in a blog post, as Forbes noted. “African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

Decriminalization isn’t quite as exciting as full legalization for marijuana advocates, but it’s still a major step in the right direction, and it will help stop so many people who simply smoke a joint now and then from ending up with a serious criminal record. Beyond the two major governors races, many other supporters of legalization won smaller elections, so advocates can celebrate that too.

Source: The 420 Times
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