Whoopi Goldberg worked the phones this week to urge New Jersey state lawmakers to support a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the Garden State, hoping to avoid a buzz kill ahead of Monday’s highly anticipated vote.
Goldberg, a longtime pot partaker who lives in West Orange, called several undecided female legislators Friday, in a bid to gain their support for the bill, according to the New Jersey Star Ledger.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) said she was among those to receive Goldberg’s plea — but said her brush with celebrity didn’t sway her.
“She feels this is a great piece of legislation, and we can be a leader for the rest of the country,” Huttle told the paper. “She was persuasive in her facts, but I also have unanswered questions that deal with behavioral health issues.”
“The View” co-host is an admitted marijuana user and has financial ties to the industry through her Whoopi & Maya brand of medical cannabis products designed for relief from menstrual discomfort.
In an op-ed published Friday in USA Today, the Oscar-winning actress and comedian dished on her personal experience with the drug and urged New Jersey legislators to adopt the measure.
“I am known as an outspoken proponent for legalization, a position that stems from the fact that I have been a marijuana user since my youth, when I discovered it was the only medicine that could relieve my crippling menstrual cramps without crippling the rest of my life,” wrote Goldberg, fresh off a month-long hiatus from “The View” to treat pneumonia and sepsis. She returned to TV March 14.
Goldberg said she still consumes marijuana with a vape pen to “relieve headaches from glaucoma.”
And she also lamented the incarceration of people, “predominantly young African-American men,” disproportionately charged with “low-level marijuana-related crimes.”
“The ACLU of New Jersey has estimated that three times as many blacks are incarcerated because of marijuana than whites, even though both blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates,” she wrote.
Passage of the bill to legalize, tax and regulate recreational weed for those 21 and over needs approval by both houses in the Democratically-controlled legislature, and is hardly assured. Support for the measure has been especially weak in the state Senate, where 21 votes are needed to pass it.
Gov. Phil Murphy, a proponent of legal weed, is expected to sign the bill into law if it passes the legislature. If lawmakers do not have enough yeas, the vote will likely be delayed until the end of the year.
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