the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39) released the following statement in response to news that Governor Phil Murphy and Legislative leaders have reached a deal on legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Senator Cardinale has been one of the Legislature’s most vocal opponents of the bill. In November, he testified before the Budget Committee in opposition to the legislation. He also released an expansive data book containing peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate the dangers of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
“The principle duty of government is to safeguard public health and safety. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use is a shameful abdication of that responsibility,” Senator Cardinale said. “In November, New Jersey’s law enforcement community testified that we don’t have the funds, personnel, or technology to identify drugged drivers. There is no breathalyzer for marijuana.
“In Colorado, marijuana-related traffic-fatalities have skyrocketed. This doesn’t just put marijuana users at risk. Innocent people who have never touched pot in their life can’t get on a Colorado highway anymore without fear of being hit by a drugged driver. This public safety crisis will be substantially worse in New Jersey, because we are the most densely populated and congested state in the nation.
“Mark my words – you won’t be able to pull onto the Turnpike without encountering a drugged driver. And what about public transit employees? Will bus drivers be able to light up before work, and spend the whole day transporting commuters? We need to think about these problems before rushing towards legalization.
“We should not be passing legislation to satisfy a popular movement, or ignore peer-reviewed studies that clearly demonstrate the consequences of doing so. We should make laws based on sound reason and evidence.
“I cannot believe that the Majority party is still willing to ignore the large number of qualified law enforcement and medical professionals who continue to shed light on the dangers of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
“As a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I also believe that frankly, the social justice argument for marijuana legalization is utter B.S.
“The judges and prosecutors who are handling marijuana sentences are simply following our existing drug laws. They were appointed by the administration with the consent of the State Senate. If they are not doing their job in a color blind fashion, then let’s hold them accountable that egregious offense. The answer isn’t to legalize a dangerous drug, and put more people in harm’s way.
“Finally, marijuana will not bring in enough money to fill the holes in Murphy’s proposed budget – that is an illusion. In just a few years, the social problems created by legalization such as homelessness, as well as widespread crime, will eat up that revenue.
“For the sake of the millions of people we promised to keep safe, I urge my colleagues in the Legislature to rethink this legislation, or at the very least, vote NO. This is not a responsible policy. It’s a perilous mistake that will endanger our population for generations to come.”