New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Two Bills, Drawing Republican’s Criticisms

New Jersey Lawmakers

New Jersey lawmakers, most of whom belong to the Democratic Party have together made a huge decision in terms of legalizing marijuana and providing driver’s license to the illegal immigrants by approving bills for both the issues in the last voting session of the year on Monday.

Cannabis legalization will be put on the November 2020 ballot, allowing the voters to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana. The move ahead of the presidential elections was deemed necessary so that the citizens could decide for themselves, considering its possible major health effects.

In 2012, recreational marijuana use was legalized for adults in Colorado, after which many other US states followed the similar laws, neglecting the damages and toxic impacts of consuming purely recreational marijuana.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and many other Democratic legislative leaders have long sought to legalize marijuana but all of their attempts have continuously failed. Efforts to legalize marijuana through legislation also stalled this year in New York and Connecticut.

Since, the Democrats have largely failed in securing votes to pass the law, New Jersey Lawmakers did the needful by passing the bill on Monday. Murphy is expected to sign both the bills.

The question asks voters if they’ll approve recreational cannabis for people 21 and older. All sales of marijuana products would then be subjected to the state’s 6.625% sales tax, and towns could pass ordinances to charge local taxes as well.

If it is voted for approval in the ballot measure, New Jersey will become the 12th state in the US to have legalized recreational marijuana through ballot initiative. Vermont is the only state to have legalized cannabis through the legislative process.

The Republicans have long rejected the Democrats’ idea of putting recreational marijuana on the 2020 ballot, warning that such an act might encourage criminal behavior in the country.

Meanwhile, providing equal benefits to the illegal immigrants has become another of the Democratic concerns that has gained huge attention in the country, prior to the presidential elections.

New Jersey lawmakers also passed a legislation that allowed immigrants to obtain a driver’s license if they provide satisfactory proof of identity and age, as well as two documents showing New Jersey residency.

National Conference of State Legislatures stated that nearly 14 US states have laws allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and with the recent bill about 466,000 New Jersey residents would be eligible for a license under the legislation.

Since, many of the immigrants, lacking lawful residence proof are already driving in New Jersey, allowing them to apply for a driver’s license would improve public safety and ensure they have a proper training. However, the Republicans have largely criticized the decision saying that providing driver’s license to the immigrants who have already broken the law once is an unlawful act.  

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