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New Jersey Could be Devastated by Irresponsible Recreational Marijuana Laws

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

NEWARK NJ, Ronald L. Rice, State Senator of New Jersey’s 28th District, centered in one of the state’s urban areas most vulnerable to the impact of recreational marijuana legalization, today issued the following statement on the ill-conceived strategy of tie-barring three pieces of marijuana legislation:

I once again seek to be the voice of reason in this nonsensical legislative wrangling of pivotal marijuana legislation.  I do so because we are at the crossroads of a decision that will change the face of New Jersey forever.  We are not talking about Colorado or another state with a vast expanse of open land.  Our state has the densest population per square mile in the nation.  It sits between two major metropolitan centers, is streaked with high speed turnpikes and parkways and carpeted with urban areas and their suburbs where families could be devastated by irresponsible recreational marijuana laws.

The wrangling for legislative votes is the result of a strategic manipulation of three separate bills concerning marijuana that provide (1) recreational use, (2) medicinal use expansion and (3) expungement of previous criminal records.

Governor Murphy has expressed his deep concern about the wellbeing of patients desperate for the treatment and relief that would be provided by an expansion of our state’s medical marijuana program.  He could, with executive authority, expand the program with the flick of a pen and he’s pledged to do so next month with or without the Legislature’s vote.

Meanwhile, he exacerbates the situation by continuing to yield to legislative leaders who have tie-barred the medical expansion bill with the two other pieces of legislation in the hope that this tangle will force passage of the entire bundle into law.  It is an attempt to jockey legislators into line by dangling the social justice benefit of expungement to correct the discriminatory practice of targeting minorities, and the humane medical benefit of making marijuana available to more patients, in order to drag the recreational use bill with them into passage.

The hope is that by blurring all three together, wealthy investors and political friends will make a killing in the marijuana industry.  Don’t be deceived.  If this has to do with social justice, let the expungement bill be passed on its own merit.  If it has anything to do with health and healing, let the medical expansion bill be passed on its own merit.  If it has to do with raising state revenue, reinvest the $140 million saved on unnecessary marijuana judicial and incarceration costs instead of the mere $60 million recreational marijuana would put in the state budget.

Yesterday’s article “Murphy’s medical marijuana pledge hurting effort to legalize weed in N.J., top Democrat says” quotes Senate President Steve Sweeney as saying the governor’s pledge to move forward with expanding medical marijuana is “not helping” his effort to legalize recreational use.  The article states that Sweeney “likened the process of whipping votes to the boardwalk game ‘Whac-A-Mole.’”

I want to remind the Senate President that we legislators, who are thoughtfully exercising our knowledge, experience and best judgment on behalf of our constituents, are not “moles” or “pawns” or anything that has to do with a game or game pieces that can be manipulated.  We cannot be “whacked” or “whipped” into voting against our conscience, our sense of reason or our oath to uphold our people.

Lastly, as long as images of boardwalks have been conjured, let me also invite readers to imagine visiting our state’s wonderful boardwalks with their families if recreational marijuana is ever legalized.  Will we still smell the salt air?  Will it ever be the same?

8 thoughts on “New Jersey Could be Devastated by Irresponsible Recreational Marijuana Laws

  1. Let’s bring back Prohibition while we’re at it.

    And ban any medications which may cause any side effects the could in any way pose a danger, such as pseudoephedrine. Can’t have any substances which people could theoretically use and pose a danger to others, right?

  2. Really?
    Where has the senator been since crack and opioids started destroying his community ?

  3. Go back into your stupor.
    Marijuana is not “medicine”

  4. I am a NJ medical marijuana patient… NJ allows 2oz per month that’s 1.8 gram per day… that’s 1 big joint per day @ $1000 per month + a visit to Dr every 3 months $175 not covered under insurance … if you don’t see the scam…
    I am on a disability income and I can’t afford the dispensaries …

    1.8 gram per day☹️☹️

  5. “Go back into your stupor.
    Marijuana is not “medicine””

    Do you also believe the earth is flat and vaccines cause autism? I ask because it seems like you are against proven facts.

  6. EVERYONE knows that marijuana is NOT a medicine.
    EVERYONE knows that “medical marijuana” /*wink wink*/ is just a STEPPING STONE for legalization of marijuana (as is happening today)
    EVERONE who says otherwise is either ignorant or dishonest (and EVERYONE knows this)
    Just because marijuana makes you feel better does not make it a legitimate medicine. Many recreational and illegal drugs make can releive pain. That does not make make them medicines.
    “Medical marijuana” is just the MOST SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY to acheive the goal of legalization of marijuana.
    So don’t think ANYONE is buying your transparent (and frankly idiotic) arguments that marijuana is a medicine.
    You WILL find supporters in those who will GO ALONG WITH THE FARCE because they support legalization… that still DOES NOT make your arguments true nor make marijuana a legitimate “medicine”
    It is just a kabuki play…


    Merely stating something does not make it fact.

    In your case the “we” truly must be a bunch of very poorly informed individuals with a clear agenda that goes against the tide of history.

  8. Nobody is buying your propaganda.
    Everyone knows that “medical” marijuana is a farce.
    There is only support, since it is the most viable path to full legalization.
    I am in no way saying that anyone is poorly informed. I am saying the opposite… that everyone is fully informed… everyone knows the truth about “medical” marijuana.
    I am in no way going against the tide of history… the tide of history is an relentless push to fully legalize marijuana… THAT is the history… THAT is the agenda
    … and EVERYONE knows it.

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