While the bill has plenty of momentum, Murphy’s election also has brought out lawmakers questioning if legalization is the right move.
“Our first priority as legislators must be to protect the people we were elected to serve,” said state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris. “Crime rates in Colorado are rising faster than almost anywhere else in the country. That’s not a coincidence. We cannot allow this to happen in New Jersey. Governor-elect Murphy – don’t pay for legal pot with people’s lives. It’s not worth it.”
Pennachhio cited a story in the Denver Post about crime rates in Colorado rising faster than the rest of the country. The story does not say that legalized pot is the reason crime has risen.
State Sen. Ronald Rice, D-Essex, has called for hearings about pot legalization.
“We know there are negative factors that we will need to safeguard against, from children’s access to marijuana-infused edibles to motor vehicle accidents caused by impaired driving to the effect of marijuana on babies and the impact of legalization on communities of color,” according to Rice’s statement.
Newly-appointed state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, has also cautioned against rushing the bill through the Legislature.
“I want to make sure it makes sense,” Coughlin said. “As with any bill — particularly any bill that would create something new — I think the devil is really in the details. And I think we need to understand it in its totality.”