- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 02 April 2014
- Written by VICTORIA RODRIGUEZ ASSISTANT POLITICS EDITOR
NJ state Sen. Nicholas Scutori recently introduced a bill that would legalize the sale as well as possession of marijuana for recreational use and allow people to grow there own.
Scutori said in a press release, “Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana for those who are age 21 and older could bring in considerable revenue for the state at a time when it is struggling to meet its financial obligations. The states of WA and CO have already implemented marijuana laws.”
WA State began issuing its first marijuana business licenses this month. CO began allowing recreational marijuana sales to adults on Jan. 1. CO initially expected to bring in $67 million in tax revenue from marijuana this year, but projections are now as high as $107 million due to higher-than-anticipated sales. Legalization is also expected to create thousands of jobs in sales, production and related services in that state, a result that could be duplicated in NJ.”
The Daily Caller explains, “Decriminalization simply removes criminal and monetary penalties for possessing any amount of marijuana, including the “manufacture,” transportation, or storage of the substance. It does not address in any way the actual usage of marijuana, the sale of it, taxation, quality, driving under the influence, age restrictions, etc.”
Noah Lipman, lecturer of history explained, “The bill will be controversial because many legislators are afraid of the legalization process. Polls indicate that many voters in NJ favor decriminalization over legalization.”
“Gov. Chris Christie has also indicated that he would veto any bill that was passed concerning legalization so most legislators feel there is little benefit for them if they vote in favor of the bill,” according to Lipman.
Drew Wellenusher, a sophomore communication major said, “Governor Christie, putting a halt to everything, with every attempt people make to legalize marijuana, Christie has stepped on their toes, he doesn’t really listen to the public’s wants.”
Lipman said, “Marijuana is controversial because there are many who see it as a gateway drug. There is also a strong lobbying effort from the alcohol firms that see marijuana as a threat to their business. Given time, however, I believe several other states will legalize marijuana because they see the tax revenue potential.”
Wellenbusher said, “If it’s legalized it keeps the public away from drug dealers and the unsafe environments they are found in. By legalizing, you take away the opportunity for drug dealers to have people try more dangerous substances.”
Wellenbusher is pro-legalization because the state would profit from it due to taxes that would be placed on it.
Lipman said, “There is a big difference between the passage of the 18th amendment, which prohibited the sale and distribution of alcohol, and the legalization of marijuana. While marijuana was legal in America until the early 1920s, it was never widely accepted by the population. Alcohol, on the other hand, was and is a major component of everyday life in America.”
“History has taught us that Americans will not stop using something they want merely because the law says they can’t. In that way you can equate it to speeding. When the oil crisis hit America in the 1970’s the national government pushed the speed limit enforcement down to 55. It proved to be a complete failure, even though it did prove to save lives and fuel. American’s just wanted to drive faster and thus were unwilling to obey the law. Driving today on the parkway, even with a speed limit of 65, proves that all over again,” according to Lipman.
Wellenbusher believes marijuana is more dangerous compared to alcohal. He said, “Right now its [marijuana] more dangerous because the level of criminal activity that it cause through the distribution/ buying/selling is sketchy.”