Should pot be legal in NJ? Yes, but vote NO on ballot question #1 (Opinion)
I think that the question of legalizing pot is a no brainer. Well, let’s qualify that. Pot should be decriminalized. If someone is smoking a joint in their home, back yard, front porch, who cares? If you want to grow a plant of three for your own use, whether it’s unwinding after a tough day or for pain management, who cares? The problem is that the government cares. So much so that they want to see our state constitution changed so they can set up yet another bureaucracy and increase your taxes.
Although I think that informed adults should be able to make their own decisions about whether to use marijuana, things go awry when government gets involved. Look how they screwed up medical pot - difficult access, high prices and virtually zero change in the illicit market. Same thing will happen here if question #1 on the ballot passes. Years of Trenton wrangling over a substance that current users will simplly continue to use through whatever means they have to get it now. Sadly, this bill empowers politicians and bureaucrats and will lead to higher taxes and increased spending.
The real solution was proposed by Senator Ron Rice a few years a ago, simply pass a law that decriminalize personal use and move on. In my opinion, there should be ZERO tax on marijuana. Keep government out of it. The real battle is to get the federal government to change the classicization of pot, currently listed equal to heroin.
Gregg Edwards representing “Don’t Let NJ Go To Pot” joined me on the show Wednesday morning to explain why he’s fighting against the ballot question. He had some great facts about increases in traffic accidents and youth drug use which should absolutely be considered if you are currently thinking about voting "YES".
That said, for me, it’s all about doing everything we can to take power away from Trenton and not the reverse. You may think that this ballot question will accomplish the decriminalization goal, but remember, it’s still illegal at the federal level and you may still be flagged for failing that drug test at work or for insurance.
Bottom line, the Black Caucus in the NJ legislature should not have been ignored. We should have had a decriminalization bill passed and signed in Murphy’s first year, as he promised on the campaign trail. Now, the weak, cowardly Trenton politicians put the question to you knowing that people will not dive into the details of new taxes, spending and regulation which will result if it passes.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.