Recreational marijuana would be legal in NJ under new bill

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TRENTON -

Marijuana could be grown, sold and used in New Jersey under new legislation introduced in the state Senate.

Democratic Sen. Nicholas Scutari unveiled the proposal at a State House news conference on Monday.

The bill has little chance of being enacted under Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who opposes legalization efforts. But Scutari says he's introducing the measure now as a way to lay the groundwork for it to be enacted by the next governor.

Scutari says that studies have shown that marijuana usage does not cause addiction or encourage other drug use.

“Opioid usage is given out each and every day by doctors and dentists, to young people and old people alike,” Scutari said. “To try to make this failed linkage between marijuana usage and heroin usage absolutely holds no water.”

The legislation would permit possession of up to an ounce of marijuana but would prohibit home cultivation.

Democratic gubernatorial front-runner Phil Murphy has said he would support legalization and decriminalization efforts. The GOP front-runner, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, said last week that Republican U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions likely wouldn't accept expansion of legalization.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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