TRENTON -- Phil Murphy , the Democratic nominee who's heavily favored to win this year's race for New Jersey governor, has promised to bring legalized marijuana to the state if he's elected. But at least one obstacle has threatened to stand in his way: President Donald Trump 's administration.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- the man in charge of enforcing federal law under Trump, a Republican -- has been vocally against legal pot. But a sweeping federal crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana now seems unlikely thanks to a U.S. Justice Department subcommittee, according to a report by Reason.com.
The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety -- made up of prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials -- has offered up no new policy recommendations to move Session's anti-pot views forward, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Instead, it encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind how President Barack Obama's administration handled enforcement. While marijuana is illegal on the federal level, the Obama administration did not enforce the law in states that individually legalized pot.
So what does this mean for New Jersey? If Sessions doesn't stand in the way, the state could have legal pot as early as next year.
Gov. Chris Christie , a Republican and Trump ally, has long been opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana, calling it a gateway drug. The state already has legalized medicinal marijuana.
But Christie leaves office in January, and state Senate Democrats haveintroduced a bill to legalize and tax recreational pot in the Garden State with the hopes that Murphy will be elected in November.
New Jersey would become the ninth state in the U.S. with legal pot.
Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and ex-Wall Street executive, is leading his Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno , by more than 20 percentage points in most polls.
Guadagno is in favor of decriminalizing marijuana but not fully legalizing it.
Murphy projects to bring in $300 million a year in tax revenue from legal marijuana.