The most influential component of pressures to legalize is the industry and investors that seek to control and profit from the market of legal cannabis. It is an unholy alliance that has produced the flavor of legalization ins states where legalization is being implemented. It might have been the quickest way toward any kind of legalization which provides *some* relief for cannabis related incarceration.
What about in NJ? Who has the upper hand here. Apparently now the upper hand is held by those that want to keep it completely illegal and that influence is spread through both political parties and i believe across both sides of the table in the 2017 gubernatorial wannabe list - which for now is quite a sizable list of wannabes. Here is a run down on the would be candidates - none have stated a clear position on ending the NJ siege on its own residents with 25000 being arrested each year for violation of NJ's draconian cannabis prohibition laws.
But just because other states where cannabis has been partially legalized have implemented laws that favor the industry that aims to corner the marketing of legal pot, that does not necessitate the same result in NJ.
NJ's process can be influenced by an effective advocacy organized to make clear what legalization should look like here.
If legalization of part of the trade and consumption still continues to produce a flow of arrests for the still illegal part of the trade (and for growing your own, decarcerators should exert influence on the discussion to eliminate that contribution to incarceration and disruption of lives over continued enforcement. Other concerns over mechanisms that are utilized to control what private interests, what economic sectors, what workers are hired at what levels of compensation . . . and other concerns need to be expressed.
Unfortunately the most listened to voice in the discussion will be those forces that profit off status quo from that $127 M per year spent in NJ on enforcement (cops, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, bonders, corrections officials and jail administrators, contractors, return and recovery industries, many others) vs. those forces that have ponied up with available liquid to get in on the game to profit from a semi-legalized trade controlled to the favor of a limited sub group of wannabe cannabis profiteers. Those are the groups that put the money on the table (through campaign contributions, quid pro quo, etc.) in the corrupt political system where politicians vote for whatever their paymasters tell them to vote for while giving at best list service and at worse blabber mouth lies to the rest of the NJ residency.
Nonetheless it is imperative that decarcerators fight to make sure that decarceratting measures are part of any legalization that comes to NJ and advocates in general need to push to make sure that the law does not create monopoly, minimum wage servitude, discriminatory hiring and licensing practices, legal limitations for those that want to grow their own, etc.