Contrary to mass media portrayals of New Jersey residents as either shallow drunkards (like MTV’s Jersey Shore crew) or violent thugs (as found on The Sopranos), Garden Staters are far more sophisticated and progressive than many suspect. This was most recently reflected in a survey released Wednesday finding majority support across New Jersey for marijuana decriminalization and legalization for purposes both medicinal and recreational.
This latest public opinion poll was conducted statewide by the Rutgers-Eagleton Institute of Politics and reported 55 percent of respondents agreed that penalties for small amounts of pot should be completely eliminated, with 35 percent advocating outright pot legalization. Over 80 percent of those polled support legal medical marijuana, a figure consistent with New Jersey being one of the “Sweet 16” states that has legalized medi-pot (Washington D.C. brings the total up to 17 but it’s not really a state and “Sweet 16” sounds cool).
Too bad the state government isn’t reflecting the will of the people; despite former Governor Jon Corzine signing the legislation that legalized medicinal cannabis in 2010, the administration of current Governor Chris Christie has delayed implementation of the law. Additionally, the parties selected to establish the six statewide dispensaries chosen to supply medicine to qualified patients have met with repeated obstacles of a potentially politicized nature. For example, the zoning board in Maple Shade Township shot down a proposed dispensary last month because they decided for some reason that a vacant furniture store along a state highway was not a suitable locale for a legal and regulated medicinal cannabis outlet.