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New Jersey's new governor promises to sign bill legalizing recreational pot within 100 days

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New Jersey's new Gov. Phil Murphy promised during his inauguration speech Tuesday to sign legislation within 100 days that would legalize adult-use of recreational marijuana. (Image source: New Jersey News video screenshot)

New Jersey's newly sworn-in Gov. Phil Murphy (D) promised during his inauguration speech Tuesday to sign legislation within 100 days that would legalize adult-use of recreational marijuana.

"A stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces comprehensive criminal justice reform, including a process to legalize marijuana," Murphy said.

Murphy, who campaigned on that promise, claimed his support for such legislation is a way to combat mass incarceration and racial disparities in criminal justice, New York Magazine reported.

New Jersey has a racially disproportionate prison population, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the population: 61 percent black, 22 percent white, and 16 percent Hispanic. The state’s general population is reportedly 14 percent black, 69 percent white, and 18 percent Hispanic.

There's also the financial component: A legal marijuana market could bring an estimated $300 million in additional tax revenue, according to some estimates, New York Magazine reported.

Murphy has the support of Stephen Sweeney, president of the New Jersey state Senate, whose position allows him the power to decide which bills receive public hearings or floor votes.

But the process may be a bit lengthier than the 100 days Murphy is touting.

On Monday, as one of his final actions, former Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that requires lawmakers to prepare a "racial impact" statement before making changes to criminal laws to determine whether there's a disproportionate effect on racial minorities, the Daily Caller reported.

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