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Letter: NJ Should Follow CO, WA, Legalize Pot

A reader in Toms River writes that the outcome of ballot initiatives across the country this November signal that it's time to end marijuana prohibition.

To the Editor:

It is very promising to learn that Colorado and Washington State legalized marijuana for all adults, as the result of voter referendums on Nov. 6. Recreational marijuana will now be controlled, taxed and regulated by those states in a a way similar to alcohol. Legitimate businesses will be licensed to sell marijuana.

New Jersey arrests approximately 25,000 people per year for marijuana offenses and has a (nearly) 10 percent unemployment rate. It is time that New Jersey legalizes marijuana all together to create jobs, reduce crime and lower taxes.

Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol. It is not addictive and no one has ever died from it. It is irrational to punish adults for using a substance safer than alcohol.

Just like alcohol prohibition, the prohibition of marijuana has not stopped its usage. But rather only moved the profits of its production and sale into underground markets and unfairly brands otherwise law-abiding adults with criminal records, limiting access to employment and education.

Marijuana legalization will give New Jersey more jobs, lower taxes and reduce crime. New Jersey, follow the lead of Colorado and Washington State by taxing and regulating marijuana for adults like alcohol!

Eric Hafner
Toms River, NJ

Have something to say? Email your letter to the editor to Christina Paciolla, cinnaminson@patch.com.

FbS November 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM
not addicting and no one ever died? If you smoke it on a daily basis, you are addicted. There has been many DUI deaths in auto accidents with pot. More jobs? Yea when people who smoke it lose theirs.. I am dealing at work with such people right now.. Reduce crime? When did DUI not become a crime? Wow, you're article is so full of in accuracies.
Ric November 13, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Your points are all valid and deserve serious consideration. You will find most of your sharpest critics will be alcoholics. The CDC reports 37,000 deaths a year to alcohol but the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana. And unlike booze grass is no more addictive than drinking coffee.
Ric November 13, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Mr. Hafner, Until I read your letter it never occurred to me how beneficial legalizing marijuana would be for the state of New Jersey. Instead of wasting taxes on the failed 41 year old war on drug, we could easily control its distribution by regulating its sale much like we do with the sale of alcohol and the state could earn tax revenues. Keeping marijuana illegal only benefits pushers and Mexican cartels. I very much like the idea of putting them out of business by legalizing and controlling sales by the state. And freeing up our police so they can work on far more important matters. Thank you for pointing that out.
Cinnacide November 13, 2012 at 06:02 PM
The drug war is one of the largest waste of US tax dollars imaginable. I agree with you Ric. I would love to see taxation on the regulation of this, and all of the jobs it would create.
tomas November 13, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I brush my teeth multiple times a day, man I can't get enough of that crest! I need my fix!
Gary H November 13, 2012 at 07:18 PM
It is about time to legalize marijuana for recreational use. I also agree that it must be regulated and sold similar to alcohol. Currently the U.S. D.E.A. spends roughly 30 billion dollars a year trying to combat marijuana. It is estimated that the sale of legal marijuana would generate between 50 and 100 billion dollars a year in Federal Tax Dollars. In the State of California, where marijuana can be cultivated for medical use, marijuana is now the largest cash crop in the state. Colorado estimates that taxing marijuana will generate between 5 and 22 million a year in taxes. A pro pot organization estimates Colorado would collect 60 million in taxes. The State of Oregon estimates it would save 1.4 -2.4 million a year in prison savings alone. It is something to think about in today’s economy, money saved, taxes earned, and jobs created. Sounds like the same speech’s we have been hearing for the past year and a half, and to keep punishing otherwise law abiding citizens is insane.
charlie mothershed November 13, 2012 at 07:26 PM
This is just what we need to chip away at our ever dwindling morals. I have friends in Co. and as I wrote them ( and I'm sure this will not sit with some) legalized,pot ,same sex marrage what's next zoophilia ( never mind they just pasted a law in 2007 banning it in Co.) anyway or morals have deteriorated to almost an uncivilized level ,this is only my opinion and yours my differ so please if you comment keep it civil.....oh ,you my define civil so how about do unto others.
tomas November 13, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I can see how marijuana use could lead to beastiality.... logical and well said point!
Monica November 13, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I picked up my child, from her friends house. The family was having a BBQ in the yard. In the front of the house, about 8 adults, smoking pot! This is what my daughter had to pass on the way to my car! I could smell it. I no longer let my child play with this child. I know it's not the childs fault, but I can't have my child around this choice! You want to make it legal!
FbS November 14, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Monica, the only people pushing to legalize a mind altering drug are the users themselves. They don't want to get arrested when they are caught doing their drugs.. So how do you stop it? Make it legal and attempt to convince others its going to create jobs, free up the Police and empty the prisons. But us non drug users know differently.
Eric P November 14, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I'm not sure I understand how raising revenue from taxes will work. If the state mandated price is too high, won't users just return to the lower cost, non-taxed suppliers they use now?
Ric November 14, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Gee, an anecdotal unsubstantiated story against the perils of marijuana use. Talk about pure fiction but I trust your story But anyway, I came across a similar situation. There must have been 8 adults drunk as skunks at my brother's neighbor's house. Even across the fence the smell of booze was awful. My poor sister-in-law had to bring the kids in from the pool on a hot July day. I know it's not the child’s fault, but they couldn't have their children around this these drunks. And you want to keep booze legal?
Ric November 14, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Sweet Jesus Frank. I cannot speak for the others supporting legalizing pot but I have not smoked weed in 20 - 25 years. And unlike you, I limit myself to no more than one or two alcoholic beverage a month and many a month I do not even drink a drop of alcohol. You should try abstaining stance for a change, it is cool!
Ric November 14, 2012 at 02:31 AM
You are right, that is why I support giving out licenses to business to sell it - like with alcohol and have the state regulate sales like with alcohol. The market would set prices and the state profits from the taxes. And the pushers and Mexican cartels get the boot.
Cinnacide November 14, 2012 at 05:33 AM
I understand your point, and I do agree that it is wrong for your kid to be exposed to such carelessness as that.No one wants their child to have to face that kind of nonsense. However, alcohol exposure is no better and is far more prevalent. I say, this is no better or worse than alcohol, so if you don't want it legalized, at least vote to prohibit alcohol consumption and production.
Cinnacide November 14, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Isn't that the same case for alcohol production? You need a license to own a distillery but anyone can brew their own beer. It's simple economics; if the prices are too high for consumers, then the firms will lower their prices. May I add that growing marijuana is time-consuming, costly, and requires hard work and special attention. It will be much easier for someone to spend money at a reasonable price for the product than grow it themselves. This would put drug dealers out of business since they couldn't provide a significantly lower price.
FbS November 14, 2012 at 11:29 AM
um Eric.. You don't know me. Don't act like you do. I don't drink..
Ric November 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM
ummm Frankie You don't know me. Don't act like you do. I do not smoke anything or use illegal drugs so. And I hope your daydreams about me are behind you.
FbS November 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I never claimed anything about you Eric. What are you talking about? If you you decide to think something I wrote in general is about you, that's your problem. I was not specifically mentioning you... relax a little
jmb November 14, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Yes it is your choice, do you allow your child around aduts that are drinking alcohol ?which is also legal today but didnt use to be.
Luke Murry November 14, 2012 at 11:32 PM
"Wow, you're article is so full of in accuracies." Me fail english? That's unpossble! - Ralph Wiggum
john November 14, 2012 at 11:48 PM
i dont get it, did something bad happen to her? from what you wrote it seems like people were just hanging out and you just assumed because its pot that they were up to some delinquency. now that child has one less friend, that probably makes him/her feel great.
Eric P November 15, 2012 at 12:27 AM
I disagree. A tax is a minimum price. The seller has to pay the taxing authority regardless of his profit. The idea of easy State or Federal revenue from high taxes assumes people will be willing to pay xx% more at state-run or licensed outlet for something they can already get xx% cheaper on the street corner. I just can't see your average slacker getting all civic-minded all of a sudden. It might depend on what XX% equals, price sensitivity and all that. If the tax is too low, however, there is no easy money revenue stream. If it is too high, it will be avoided via the street corner.
Cinnacide November 15, 2012 at 05:56 AM
From the sounds of your comment, I think you need to start toking.
Eric November 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Gee what a surprise you're against the legalization of pot and you don't drink. And why do you keep calling Ric Eric I'm Eric Ric is short for Richard not Eric. I thought you would've learned that in your 1st grade reading class but apparently they didn't teach you that on the short bus.
joebob jerrty December 15, 2012 at 11:06 AM
less jobs for cops more tax money.weed sales more tax money. making it harder for kids to get there hands on it good things. less crime leading to less killings good thing yes.more jobs less fighting more money good thing.people high on weed don't do crimes if some one was going to rob a bank give hem or her a hit weed see if there still thing about robbing that bank lol.sick people taking someones life away by putting them in jail for smoking weed.AND IM 100% RIGHT TY
joebob jerrty December 15, 2012 at 11:18 AM
it will be cheaper no risk its legal 250 bucks on street will be 100 bucks in a store less cops more tax now the asshole cops giving out bs parking fines can get a real job
lonestar January 02, 2013 at 05:01 AM
long ago they tried to outlaw liqour (the sale of not the consumption of)...crime increased..people died (bad booze) smuggleing was big business.. gee that went well...A whole industry was created to stamp out the sale of liquor ...after awhile a politician realized that the law was hypocritical as lawmakers were all partying with supposedley illegal liqour...this politician proposed that makeing liqour legal would generate large sums of much needed tax revenue and weaken organized crime..Does anyone see history repeating itself ...???

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