Phil Murphy Gov Win in New Jersey Is Good for Marijuana

Now that Phil Murphy has defeated Chris Christie's Lt. Gov. Kim Gaudagno by a 56%-43% margin to become New Jersey's next Democratic governor, many think marijuana legalization is right around the corner for the Garden State. During the campaign, Murphy said he's for it and would sign such legislation. 

It may be an off-year election, but it was a big night for the Democrats, with important wins in New Jersey and Virgina, where Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated his Republican opponent Ed Gillepsie by a 54%-45% margin.

After eight years of Chris Christie as governor, it was time for a change in New Jersey. Unlike his anti-marijuana opponent, Murphy believes legalization is necessary for social justice reasons more than revenues. He says making "money off it" is secondary to ending the arrests that predominately effect people of color. On his website, he calls for legalization "so police can focus resources on violent crime." Murphy was the U.S. ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013. Prior to that, he worked at Goldman Sachs for 23 years.

Bill de Blasio's reelection for his second term as New York mayor over Republican opponent Nicole Malliiotakis by a 66%-28% margin makes it a trifecta for the Dems. During his first mayoral campaign in 2013, de Blasio promised to end stop and frisk and decrease the number of people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City. He's succeeded on both fronts. He ended the city's appeal of the decison that the stop and frisk tactic is unconstitiuonal. Nine months into his first term, de Blasio instructed police commissioner Bill Bratton to curtail marijuana arrests. Now, if you're caught with "small amounts of marijuana," you receive a summons rather than face arrest (unless you have a warrant and other priors). Since 2011, when Michael Bloomberg was mayor, arrests have declined from 50,000 a year to less than 20,000. That's a big improvement, but still not good enough. Now that de Blasio has won a second term, he must bring pot arrests down to zero.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.