Nearly three months after Colorado became the first state to allow the recreational use of pot, interest in passing laws to legalize marijuana is spreading, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. Colorado’s windfall in tax revenues – expected to be beyond $208 million annually – is fanning the flame as state officials struggle with budgets and limited resources.
New Jersey is among at least 10 East Coast states that are caught up in the trend. Two marijuana bills were introduced this month in the New Jersey legislature; Gov. Chris Christie is opposed. New Hampshire also has a reluctant governor, while New York’s and Rhode Island’s bills are gathering steam. Maryland is also in play. Evan Nison of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says Rhode Island could become the first state in the East to act, based on the progress it has made so far in the legislature. “We have a hurdle with the governor and they don’t,” he said. Nison predicts New Jersey won’t have legal pot sales for “likely five years down the road. We’re getting more momentum than we’ve ever had, but change is slow,” he said. “We’re waiting for him to leave,” Nison said of Christie.