Sun Editorial: Change is likely for marijuana laws, but what kind of change?

Like it or not, change in some form appears to be on the horizon.

Phil Murphy made legalized recreational use of marijuana a cornerstone of his campaign for governor. And, of course, he won. So we all should get ready for legalized pot, right?

Maybe not right away.

A recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows most New Jersey residents favor some change in marijuana laws, but perhaps not a jump from it being illegal to stores opening to sell it to the general public.

Some 42 percent of poll respondents said full-steam ahead with legalization. Another 26 percent favored decriminalization. About 27 percent didn’t want to change the laws.

Murphy also touted the increased revenue the state would collect from legalization — an estimated $300 million to $500 million once the sales tax was fully phased in. We’re not sure how he came up with those numbers, but 75 percent of poll respondents said they would not buy marijuana if it were legal. Of course, some people might be a bit uncomfortable telling a pollster about a desire to get high.

Like most issues, the fate of marijuana will come down to politics. Various bills regulating various things are expected in the Legislature. At least one already has been introduced. A lot of other things, such as how many and where “stores” can be set up and who will oversee the process, will have to be, pardon the pun, hashed out. Of course, lawmakers also could choose to take smaller steps, such as decriminalization.

But, like it or not, change in some form appears to be on the horizon. The new governor supports it, as does, according to the poll, a majority of residents.

Now the only question is how soon and how big of a change residents will see.