Legal recreational use of marijuana for NJ?

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New Jersey could soon be the fifth state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but any action will likely come too late for incarcerated Mays Landing resident Jon Peditto.

Peditto, who was caught growing 17 marijuana plants in the Pinelands in 2012, represented himself at trial and argued the jury should not convict him because the state laws against the substance are unjust.

He was convicted on two counts Oct. 29, and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could wind up serving up to 20.

But it comes amid changing attitudes nationwide on marijuana, and New Jersey's state Senate held its first-ever hearing on legalization Monday.

It's the first in a series of hearings that committee chair Sen. Nick Scutari said is aimed on informing senators ahead of a full legalization vote.

Peditto's girlfriend Marilu Zahn visited Chasing News to talk about Peditto, who was ordered to jail by a judge minutes after his conviction, and the possible move by New Jersey lawmakers.

Peditto's sentencing is slated for Dec. 23.

Experts told state senators that a marijuana bill could be passed in both houses and on Gov. Chris Christie's desk by springtime.