A survey conducted by Quinnipiac University found that about 62 percent of New Jersey residents support legalizing marijuana but only about 50 percent of them are comfortable with it actually being sold in their towns.
The study also discovered that 66 percent of Democrats supported marijuana being sold legally in their community, while only about 28 percent of Republicans supported it. However, as far as legalization in general, 78 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans supported it.
Many states have recently legalized marijuana and several other states seem to be following the same path. But at the same time, many municipalities have banned marijuana sales. That fact, along with the results of this poll suggests that people who support marijuana legalization are less positive about it when it gets too close to home.
At this point, only four New Jersey towns have officially stated they would welcome the sale of marijuana in their communities. According to NJ.com those towns are Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Jersey City, and Trenton.
Despite some communities banning the sale of marijuana, the governor said he believes marijuana legalization is the right decision for the state. The president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Kevin Sabet, believes that most of the support for legalization comes from the fact that many don’t believe people should be given harsh sentences for using it.
“We know that most people who say they favor legalization really favor simply not putting people in prison for pot. That’s very different than selling and advertising highly potent edibles, candies and concentrates.”
Earlier this summer, Splinter News reported that New Jersey’s attorney general announced all marijuana cases would be adjourned until September or later. In the U.S., New Jersey has the second-highest arrest rate for marijuana-related crimes. In July, Jersey City’s new prosecutor said he would seek to downgrade some marijuana offenses to non-criminal offenses and seek outright dismissal of low-level charges.
However, the police say they will continue their enforcement of laws that are actually still in place. Wayne Blanchard, president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association said, “We have a duty and obligation to enforce the laws as they’re written right now.”
The nation continues to be split over the legalization of marijuana. But as of 2018, nine states have legalized its use for recreational purposes or expanded the ways it’s allowed to be used medically. Many other states have begun to decriminalize its use. Whether or not more of New Jersey’s residents will ever be comfortable with the idea of the marijuana businesses setting up shop in their towns remains to be seen.