RAHWAY — Although James J. Devine applauded Senator Nick Scutari’s courage for sponsoring controversial legislation, the liberal Democrat questioned his method of trying to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use in New Jersey.
“Alcohol prohibition did not work and marijuana prohibition is not working, so it is time to enact sensible marijuana policy in America,” said Devine, a candidate for mayor in Rahway’s June 3 primary election. “The smart way to legalize marijuana is by putting a question on the ballot and allowing voters to decide, because a lengthy legislative process is likely to encounter a veto from Gov. Chris Christie.
“Republicans are out of touch with America, and Christie may never come to terms with anything that causes the ‘munchies’ so there is more reason to worry,” said Devine. “Instead of delivering a veto opportunity to a bully, Senator Nick Scutari and his fellow lawmakers should let the people decide.”
Devine is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor in Rahway, where Mayor Rick Proctor resigned too late last year to allow an election for his replacement.
He said recent polling suggests that as many as 60 percent of Garden State voters would approve a ballot question to legalize marijuana.
A poll released by Lake Research Partners in June found that 59 percent of New Jersey voters support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis and a Gallup poll released in October found that 58% of Americans favor legalization.
New Jersey is one of 20 states that has legalized medical marijuana but Christie has repeatedly said he would not allow legalization or even decriminalization of marijuana because it sends the wrong message to kids.
“More than 22,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey in 2010,” said Devine. “A criminal conviction can have long-term implications for people, but it is an incredible waste of law enforcement resources and taxpayer money.
Scutari’s legislation would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in New Jersey and it is based on new laws in Washington state and Colorado, which took in $2 million in the first month of sales alone.
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