A lot of people, especially in these parts, might think New Jersey would be vastly improved if it became more like Colorado. But not New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, at least as far as marijuana is concerned.
According to a just-published column, he's gone on record as saying he doesn't want NJ to go to pot like Colorado has.
In the Edison/ Metuchen Sentinel's "Christie Will Save New Jersey from Turning Into Colorado," Greg Bean notes that the New Jersey Assembly has voted to "decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana," making possession of fifteen grams or less of weed a civil fine of between $150 and $500 rather than a criminal penalty.
Bean expects this bill to sail through the New Jersey Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, but die on the desk of Christie, who's already said he'll veto it. He adds that Christie has also argued that "decriminalization would somehow weaken the state's medical marijuana program -- which his administration has been accused of sabotaging since it became law over two years ago." Moreover, Bean writes, Christie "also said that he doesn't want New Jersey to become like Colorado and California, where decriminalization had led to de facto legalization."
If that were true, the folks pushing Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, could take the next few months off rather than creating a billboard featuring proposal-supporter Pat Robertson.
Yet Bean thinks Christie has a "fraction of a valid point." According to him, "It's common knowledge that smoking pot not only leads to the consumption of unhealthy foods, like cherry cheesecake in bulk, but to the listening to, and singing along with, anthemic music.
"Still," he goes on, "it's a bit of an overreaction to veto the decriminalization bill simply to prevent New Jersey potheads from singing John Denver songs at the Short Hills Mall, even though that would obviously constitute aggressive, antisocial behavior."
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Wish I could disagree with that last characterization -- but I'll take New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen over JD any day. Hope that makes you feel better, Governor.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana measures in Oregon, Washington won't hurt Colorado campaign, advocate says."