On Tuesday, March 13,  2018, Governor Murphy made his first budget address for fiscal year 2019 at the Statehouse in Trenton.  The Administration intends to legalize adult-use marijuana by January 1, 2019 and anticipates that legalization will generate approximately $80 million in revenue.  Governor Murphy recognized and thanked those in the Assembly and Senate, such as Senators Ronald L. Rice and Robert W. Singer, that have proposed a decriminalization bill, but affirmed his position that legalization, regulation, and taxation of recreational marijuana is the only effective means of reducing the disproportionate marijuana-related arrest rate for minorities, the high costs associated with prosecuting marijuana-related activity, and the illegal marijuana market. 

Governor Murphy further indicated that cost savings from marijuana-related prosecutions would be directed to addressing illegal gun trafficking, providing “stronger community policing,” and fighting the opioid epidemic, while State tax revenues from a legalized marijuana market would be invested into those communities most negatively impacted by  non-violent drug-related convictions and mandatory-minimum drug-sentencing.