Governor Phil Murphy Opens Up About Smoking Weed

One month after approving a major expansion of New Jersey’s medical cannabis program, Governor Phil Murphy opens up about smoking weed.
Governor Phil Murphy Opens Up About Smoking Weed
Phil Murphy for Governor/ Flickr

You don’t have to like smoking weed to advocate for its legalization, a point the governor of New Jersey made in more or less certain terms when a reporter popped the question after a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday. But in a tweet sent Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy opens up about smoking weed in a way he didn’t when he cleverly dodged the question about his past experience with the drug the day prior.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Has “Never Been A Marijuana Guy”

On Gov. Murphy’s way out of a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday, where he approved a number of progressive, pro-worker pieces of legislation, a reporter questioned whether the governor has ever, or plans to, consume cannabis.

After a brief laugh, Murphy responded, “I’ve ever been a marijuana guy. This is for social justice, overwhelmingly.”

Governor Murphy also made a joking reference to his affinity for fine spirits. “If this were legalization of Scotch or Irish whiskey, I would not need any advice. I’d know exactly what to do,” Murphy said.

Indeed, unlike his predecessor Chris Christie, Murphy made marijuana reform a cornerstone of his platform and campaign. And when he assumed office in January this year, Murphy vowed to move forward with legalizing and regulating an adult-use cannabis market within his first 100 days in office.

The governor has yet to make much progress on adult-use cannabis. But last month, he did approve a massive expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program. The changes aim at undoing harsh restrictions enacted by the Christie administration.

Murphy’s moves on marijuana reform have caught the attention of the press, who have asked the governor about his prior cannabis use on more than one occasion.

And on Thursday, Gov. Murphy took to Twitter to settle the matter once and for all.

Gov. Murphy Smoked Weed “Literally Once or Twice”

In a tweet sent Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy opens up about smoking weed. And in what was surely a surprise to some, Murphy admitted that he just wasn’t that into it.

“Here’s the deal,” Murphy wrote on Twitter, “I’ve tried marijuana literally once or twice many years ago, and I don’t have any desire to partake again.”

Then, Murphy reiterated his stance that legalizing cannabis is a social justice issue.

“But this effort isn’t about me—this is about social justice.”

Gov. Murphy went on to point out that New Jersey has the largest incarceration disparity between white and black people in the country. Murphy has frequently argued that legalization is key to reducing that disparity.

But resistance from within his own party and among legislative leaders in New Jersey has halted the progress Murphy had hoped to make.

Final Hit: Governor Phil Murphy Opens Up About Smoking Weed

Despite reluctance among lawmakers, more New Jersey voters are backing legal weed every year. A recent poll marked an 11-point increase of people in favor of legalizing small quantities of weed for adult-use. For his part, Gov. Murphy seems convinced that legalization is in the cards for New Jersey. He’s already banking on $60 million in revenue from cannabis sales to bolster his $37.4 billion dollar 2019 budget.

But if we are to take him at his word, none of that revenue will come from Gov. Murphy purchasing any weed for himself.

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