Pubdate: Fri, 23 Oct 2015
Source: Trentonian, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2015 The Trentonian
Author: Jeff Edelstein


Here's a prediction: Marijuana will be legal New Jersey in three 
years. All that needs to happen is for a reasonable human being to 
assume the governor's throne, as our current fearless leader, Chris 
Christie, has repeatedly said he'd never allow anyone to legally 
blaze a joint in the Garden State. As such, he has vowed to never 
sign a legalization bill.

And there are bills, for the record. Bills that would seek to either 
decriminalize or fully legalize marijuana are waiting to be heard.

Now this is a drum I've beaten before, but ... it just keeps getting 
louder. The latest Gallup poll on the issue is downright shocking, 
especially if you've been living in a bomb shelter for the past few 
decades. Over 58 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, 
which is the highest number ever recorded.

And the number is just going to rise - get higher, if you will - as 
the only age cohort against legalization is the 65 and over group, 
and even there, it has 35 percent support. Clearly, as that 
generation goes off to the big bong in the sky, the support for 
legalization will continue to grow like so much hydroponic and ... 
I'll try to stop with the marijuana metaphors now, though I can't promise.

Some other numbers from the Gallup poll: Over 71 percent of 18-34 
years olds support legalization (and before you say, "damn kids," 
know this: As recently as 2000, the level of support in that age 
group was only 44 percent); the 35-to-49ers stand at 64 percent, and 
50-to-64 year olds are at 58 percent.

"Well, if Jon Corzine was reelected in 2009, I think we would've 
already taken the steps," said our very own Assemblyman Reed 
Gusciora. (Trying hard - really hard - to not type "Weed Gusciora.") 
(And I failed.)

Gusciora is one of the legislators with a full legalization bill, 
along with a companion bill filed in the senate. Marijuana would be 
taxed, laws would be set up - no one under 21, thank you - and all in 
all, he's seeking something similar to what's going on in Colorado. 
And what is going on in Colorado? Well, the economy is booming thanks 
to tax dollars on pot and police have made about 40,000 fewer arrests 
this year according to the Drug Policy Alliance.

And that's a big reason why Gusciora thinks marijuana should be 
legalized. In his role as prosecutor for Lawrence Township, he says 
90 percent of the marijuana cases brought before him are "joint in 
the ashtray" type of offenses.

"You face jail, loss of your driver's license, fines, and you lose 
your chance for federal financial aid," Gusciora said. "The 
punishment does not fit the crime. To make criminals out of all these 
people is clearly not good for society." Couldn't agree more. Of 
course, though, it doesn't matter, at least as long as Christie is 
around. He's bogarting the legislation.

Gusciora said it's fair to say he and other legislators are "laying 
the groundwork" for a bigger push once a governor who agrees with the 
will of the people takes office.

Until then, New Jersey will just have to wait for it's legalized 
marijuana. (Pro tip: It's decriminalized in Philadelphia.)

Anyhow, full disclosure, I don't smoke pot. Used to. A lot. Like, a 
ton. An ungodly amount. But not anymore. So I've got no dogs in this 
race. It's just obviously time the laws caught up with the will of the people.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom