While marijuana should be legal for everyone in New Jersey, State Senator Scutari’s proposal to do so is seriously flawed.
A proposed 21 age limit would result in adults 18-21 still facing drug charges that would cost them jobs and federal student benefits.
Scutari proposes allowing municipalities to ban or license marijuana businesses. This is a recipe for corrupt monopolies to take hold, with shady local politicians running the industry. Marijuana businesses should be deemed lawful at the state level, and preempt any local regulation.
While all adults over the age of 18 should have the unrestricted ability to grow, purchase, and transfer cannabis, in order to prevent youth from entering the black market (where harmful substances are sold) minors ages 15 and older should also be allowed to visit legal cannabis retailers with verified parental permission, and there should be no penalty for underage use.
His suggested prohibition on public usage are also of concern, it is much more reasonable to require marijuana only be smoked where tobacco is allowed.
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It sounds like Senator Scutari has been doing too much of a cut-and-paste of Colorado policy and not enough common sense research to make this effort at law reform practical and end disparate enforcement. Colorado’s system, while better than New Jersey’s is still far too over regulated.