The fight to legalize marijuana has made some significant steps this week. New Jersey became the 14th state to approve the use of medical marijuana. The New Jersey Legislature passed the measure yesterday and it may be signed into law as early as next week. The legislation allows patients suffering from illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy, the right to use up to 2 ounces of marijuana grown and distributed through state approved dispensaries. The state will be allowed to set the price for the marijuana but insurance companies will not be required to pay for it. The measure passed with comfortable margins in both houses of the New Jersey legislature. After the measure passed, supporters erupted in applause and hugs and tears.
Meanwhile, a bill seeking to legalize marijuana in California won initial approval from the state's public safety committee. While the vote seems to be purely symbolic, supporters of the legislation consider it an important first victory for the measure. The reason this may be a symbolic victory is that the measure is actually going to be on the November ballot and voters may be able to pass the measure at the ballot box. The legislative measure would allow adults over the age of 21 to grow and possess marijuana and would allow the state to charge a $50 per ounce fee and a 9% sales tax on retail sales. State revenue collectors have estimated that the State of California stands to make as much as $1.4 billion in revenue.
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