STAFFORD TOWNSHIP - Gov. Chris Christie is reminding New Jersey residents of his opposition to marijuana legalization.
The governor spoke at a treatment center in Ocean County Tuesday at the ribbon cutting for a new outpatient substance abuse clinic run by Daytop New Jersey. He used the opportunity to remind New Jersey residents why he opposes a new statewide effort to legalize the drug.
"To me that's blood money. I'm not going to put the lives of children and citizens at risk to put a little more money into the state coffers,” he says.
Marijuana is a secondary issue in Ocean County compared to heroin. Operators at the facility in Stafford Township say the area's epidemic numbers on heroin abuse caught the eye of Daytop leadership.
"The disease of addiction, especially the heroin epidemic that we combat every day, is really tearing at our communities," says Daytop New Jersey President James Curtin.
Some in the community were unhappy by the news of a drug treatment facility in town, which is less than half a mile from both a high school and middle school.
Curtin says they're committed to being good neighbors. The facility on North Main Street won't open for a few weeks at least as it still needs permits from the state.
The New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, a citizen group leading the charge to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, accused the governor of fear mongering. They say the real harm is done by tens of thousands of marijuana-related arrests every year.