Monmouth County fights against potential pot legalization
Gov. Phil Murphy has made it clear that he wants to make recreational marijuana legal in New Jersey.
But some leaders in Murphy’s home county are pushing back – the Monmouth County freeholders say that they don’t want marijuana in their towns.
"The only reason this is being done is for revenue and revenue only. Nobody had ever said any other reason,” says Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone.
Recreational marijuana is legal in eight states. Colorado, one of the first, reported earnings of $247 million in 2017 from taxes, fees and licensing.
But Murphy says that revenue isn’t the only reason to legalize marijuana. He says that obtaining medical marijuana in New Jersey is too difficult. He announced a review of the state’s medical marijuana program on Tuesday.
"My personal opinion is the list is far too narrow. Going in, that needs to be expanded dramatically,” Murphy said.
Arnone says that he also worries about the message children are getting if marijuana is legalized.
"We talk every day about the heroin situation and if people can be naive again to think this is not a gateway to that,” he says.
Officials in the Monmouth County town of Asbury Park say that they want a marijuana dispensary in their town.
Coil and Company Vape Supply shop owner Chris Cook says that he would like to be able to sell it in his shop.
“We have people coming in, 100 people a week, asking if we intend to be a dispensary,” he says. “Our answer is, absolutely.”
Asbury Park leaders have already stated that they will allow sales of recreational marijuana if it is legalized. It will be up to all 53 municipalities in Monmouth County to decide if they want to follow along.