Home / #Solutions / State Proposes Bold Law to Treat Pot Like Tobacco And Expunge All Records of Marijuana ‘Crimes’

State Proposes Bold Law to Treat Pot Like Tobacco And Expunge All Records of Marijuana ‘Crimes’


New Jersey — Bold legislation introduced in New Jersey last week would not only treat cannabis like tobacco — legalizing it — but would expunge records for individuals previously convicted of certain marijuana-related ‘crimes.’

Should the bill, A4193, pass, convenience stores would be permitted to sell cannabis alongside cigarettes — available to anyone aged 19 and older.

“This bill would legalize marijuana by removing all criminal liability associated with marijuana from the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice … as well as its regulation as a controlled dangerous substance under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act,” the proposed law states.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll — once deemed the state Legislature’s “Most Conservative” member, as the Newark Patch pointed out — the legislation “[l]egalizes marijuana and provides for records expungement for certain past marijuana offenses; treats marijuana products similar to tobacco products, including the use of civil penalties for providing marijuana to persons under 19 years of age.”

Carroll’s bill audacious thumbs its nose at the DEA’s vehemently criticized decision this year not to reschedule cannabis from its current inexplicable designation as a dangerous substance of no medical value, akin to heroin or cocaine.

“To me it’s just not a big deal,” Carroll told Politico. “It’s already ubiquitous. Anybody who thinks this is somehow going to increase the availability of marijuana has never been 19. If that’s the case, then what’s the big deal about having it available at the local 7-Eleven?”

Alcohol, after all, is a standard fixture at convenience stores and gas stations, with store owners facing fines and other civil penalties for underage distribution.

“The whole point here is to get the government out of the business of treating at least marijuana use as a crime and treat it instead as a social problem,” Carroll continued, adding he’s never tried cannabis, personally.

“You’re talking to the world’s most boring, straightest guy,” he said. “I’ve never popped a pill, never smoked a joint, nothing. I’ve never quite understood the all the allure of this stuff.”

Apparently, though, he doesn’t feel his personal views concerning substances should override contrary opinions and choices.

On the surface, the right-wing lawmaker would seem the last person sponsoring legislation taking such a radical departure from federal law — but on issues of personal freedom, his stances align most closely with libertarian philosophy. Carroll not only co-sponsored New Jersey’s medical cannabis legislation, in April he proposed lowering the state’s drinking age to 18, saying, according to the Patch,

“If you’re old enough to make the determination you want to enlist in the Marines, you’re old enough to determine if you want to have a beer.”

Despite an overwhelming public perception cannabis should at least be decriminalized and growing national disillusionment with the failed drug war  — with the resultant largest prison population in the world, gang violence, strengthening of Mexican cartels, epidemic-level police violence, and inability of those in need to get life-saving medical cannabis treatment — the Drug Enforcement Agency opted to maintain marijuana prohibition this year.

Should the proposed law indeed pass, New Jersey would join Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon in legal, recreational weed. In fact, degrees of decriminalization and legalization — mostly for medical use — exist in half the states in the nation.

November’s election will likely expand those numbers.

Ballot measures could potentially legalize recreational use in varying degrees in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Nevada — and although they aren’t all expected to pass, the segment of the population arguing against legalization shrinks seemingly by the month.

New Jersey lawmakers are attempting a multi-pronged approach to legalizing weed. Another bill, A2068, filed in January by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora — ironically, one of the most liberal members of the state Legislature — and State Sen. Nicholas Scutari would legalize cannabis and treat it akin to alcohol. A third is expected after several legislators, including Gusciora and Scutari, return from an information-gathering field trip examining legalization in Colorado in October.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — whom Carroll refers to as “the Fat Man” — will almost certainly veto any legislation concerning cannabis. But his tenure in office draws to a close just over a year from now.

“We would like to get the ball rolling, even with this governor and even if he vetoes it, the choice then could be made to put it on the ballot through the Legislature or set the groundwork for the next administration,” Gusciora told Politico. “I think it’s only a matter of time.”

  • Steve

    After reading this article, I recommend people ready the legislation California is considering making it illegal to buy a firearm if you have a MM card. The fight to ‘free the weed’ will take another generation before it happens.

    • James Russell

      Buy a bong, not a gun 🙂

      • Guy Pinestra

        Be free for a change, buy both!

        • Julian McRoeth

          true freedom comes from within, neither gun nor bong will get you any closer to it… well, to be fair, the bong just might 😉

        • Steve Smith

          grow weed and make your own guns

    • MistyV76

      Ahh, well, why not buy your firearm then get your MM card? Really, how many guns can one fire at one time? Two at the most. Honestly this no gun law for people who smoke marijuana baffles me. It’s probably the dumbest thing I’ve heard if since the criminalization of cannabis. Outlaws and bad people will find ways to kill others if that’s their intent. Just more government overreach, IMO.

      • BarleySinger

        The firearm ban if you use cannabis (even medically) is tied to laws on background checks. When you go to buy a gun, you have to fill out a form. The form has direct questions about ones crimaal baxkground and current actions and LYING on the form is a serious offence. Remember, use of cannabis is a federal crime.

        • MistyV76

          Usage is not illegal, otherwise every person who fails a drug tests when applying for a job would be arrested. If you have never committed a crime then your use would be completely unknown. Possession is illegal, although again, it shouldn’t be. I don’t know one person that would go to buy a gun and rat themselves out on purpose. If anyone is that stupid they definitely do not need a gun. USE is not a federal crime. We should drug test these loonies running this poor excuse for a government first. I would bet, within a matter of weeks to months, everything would be legal. Live long, live happy and be free. ?

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        • Andrew Eisenhour

          Drink yourself into a stupor every night? Don’t worry you can buy a gun.

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        • billdeserthills

          If lying on the form is such a ‘serious offense’ then why doesn’t the gov’t prosecute people who actually knowingly lie on the form??

          I used to be a gun dealer and the ATF told me if I saw a medical marijuana card I could not sell that person a gun–And that was many years before this lousy court made their bs decision

      • billdeserthills

        Outlaws and bad people will absolutely find ways to continue killing the innocent, so why should we have laws forbidding the innocent? Laws don’t mean a thing to criminals, they only hurt the innocent

    • InalienableWrights

      COlorado has already done this, The whore media covers it up!

      • the_punnisher

        It’s just not a newsworthy subject here in Colorado. MMJ cards just lower the cost for medical users at a dispensary. The same amount of MJ costs 1/2 as much when you display your MMJ card, When the grow room is finished, I will just put my scrip on the door…and grow 12 plants instead of six.

      • Bradley Senoj

        Only for conceal carry permits, you can still buy and own firearms. Just no carry permit

    • Rob Stevens

      Eh MM card holders would probably just forget where they put their gun anyway 😉

    • billdeserthills

      No worry, the legislative branch will make a law so none of their BS laws will affect their freedoms

  • raz-0

    Marijuana prohibition is in its death throws. It’s just not a sustainable plank in for either party. Yeah legalizing it will piss some people off, but what we have right now is not any kind of conviction for it to be banned, but rather a bunch of old long time politicians not wanting to upset the boat and take any heat for the change.

    Even the hardcore right wingers can’t really articulate a viable reason to continue this way. Most of their arguments turn into some version of “someone might have fun”, or worrying about stuff already happening that are largely the secondary or tertiary effects of high prices and the fact it is illegal.

  • UmmNo

    Christie will never allow it

    • MistyV76

      Christie may not have any say so very soon. He’s being brought up on corruption charges.

      • UmmNo

        So where are those charges?

  • InalienableWrights

    Bold my ass! More bull shit from the state. I am not free to grow tobacco and sell it in the “land of the free”. You have to have inherited or bought what is known as a “tobacco allotment” to legally grow and sell tobacco. It is just another state created monopoly!

    • Daniel Segedy

      What you are talking about here is selling poison to others in the “land of the free” knowing that it is extremely harmful to the human body when smoked. That is called genocide for profit. I don’t know how tobacco industry sleeps at night as it is and you are upset because it’s hard to copy that genocide independently?? Wow.

  • InalienableWrights

    I think that the gun grabbers are not bold enough. How about when you get your government permission card to breath air, that they take away the gun rights of people that want to exercise their government granted permission to breath?

  • haauwnk

    Hasn’t this lunacy gone on long enough?

  • gininitaly

    Actually alcohol is a far worse harbinger of violent and dangerous behavior than grass could ever be. I know that if I had the choice.. I’d much rather see a gun in the hands of a stoner than a raging drunk….uhh.. has anyone even heard of a ‘raging’ stoner lol? Guns are just sooo heavy. 😉

  • DD

    Looking forward to Christie hitting the road. Big government flunky.

  • Some army medic

    Cocaine is not schedule 1 like marijuana it is schedule 2 like codeine and fentanyl and ritilan

  • Nate Hoffman

    19 should be the age of adulthood for everything. Military service, smoking, driving, alcohol and cannabis. I don’t like this different ages for different activities nonsense and none of it’s based in any kind of science. It’s all completely arbitrary. That being said, you could drive at 14 when I was a kid if you had a learner’s permit.

    • Kirn Gill

      I prefer 25, to be honest, as that’s when your brain finally matures into adulthood.

      • Sydney Renee

        I had read a study that reccommended 25 as the age for allowance for marijuana too.

  • frederickdouglass

    Could you imagine if wawas sold weed? You’d never find parking!

  • GFinker2~^~

    I’ve never smoked the stuff but have absolutely no problem with any of this.