Some Legislators Vow to Fight Legalization of Recreational Pot in NJ
With the recent formation of a group that is fighting to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in New Jersey (New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform), those who oppose the group’s mission are coming out of the woodwork. New Jersey Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth) said that she is planning to advocate legislation against the movement to legalize and tax the drug.
Assemblywoman Angelini has been a vocal opponent of the pro-legalization movement and is working with other anti-marijuana activists to form their own group. In a phone interview with Advance Media, she said, “The folks that want to legalize appear to be gaining traction. It’s a good time to let our voice be heard.” She and some other anti-legalization advocates are planning a conference call this week to form a strategy.
She noted that the launch of the pro-legalization group is “not necessarily a bad thing. It starts a dialogue.” However, she added that people need to be educated about the entire subject at large.
On the other hand, the pro-marijuana group argues that the legalization and taxation of marijuana will create revenue for the state, as well as allow law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes. “It is time to take marijuana out of our parks, and off of our street corners, and put it behind the counter. It is time to stop turning otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals,” said Executive Director of the ACLU Udi Ofer.
Experts say they believe the New Jersey marijuana conversation will likely be a long one, and it will ultimately be decided by the legislators and governor. Gov. Chris Christie has already said he won’t sign legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. However, Louis Tuthill, assistant professor of criminology at Rutgers-Camden, said, “At the end of the day legislators have to consider who actually votes for them; that’s who they have to make happy.”
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