To the Editor:
The voters of New Jersey turned out at the polls; many sent their ballots through the mail. Millions of New Jersey citizens performed their civic duty to make their voices heard and the outcome resulted in marijuana legalization for the state.
Statewide, 2,737,682 or 65.08% of voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalization, with 1,343,610 or 32.92% voting in opposition. In Cape May County, the same trend is seen, with 36,353 or 65.9% of county residents voting in favor of legalization, leaving 18,775 or 34.1% voting in opposition of the bill.
This was not a nail biter, but a resounding answer to what the majority of New Jersey and Cape May County residents desired and supported. The days of jail sentences, exorbitant fines, and lost opportunities are behind most marijuana users now, however, Cape May County has decided to make theater out of passing resolutions that include fines that ban cannabis consumption in public.
While it could be seen as noble by those who do not read or research, the simple truth of the matter is that the marijuana legalization bill already states that marijuana cannot be consumed in public.
It's a safe assumption that our little towns are counting on out-of-state visitors to take New Jersey's legalization law for granted and that they will reap the windfall from the fines they seek to impose.
Add to this the national discussion on policing and the often-tragic outcomes resulting from non-violent police/citizen interactions and all Cape May residents should question the motivation behind a few members of local government, along with local business owners, deciding the show of force against legalization when our county residents voted yes, with almost three-fourths of the vote.
Also included in the bill, it states that the smell of marijuana no longer justifies police inquiries, so how can these township ordinances even be enforced?
These same local leaders who supported outside alcohol consumption during Covid; these same leaders voted into office by the very people who voted for legalization.
Standing in Wildwood on a summer night at 3 a.m. when the bars let out, you are quite likely to see fights, yelling, urinating in public, people falling over, and trying to drive... but marijuana is demonized.
Even though we, the voters, overwhelmingly decided we want legal pot in New Jersey.
This letter is not in support of public consumption but in opposition to the blatant hypocrisy of town leaders and their parent-like sense of entitlement that makes them feel they can attack what their voters approved.
So, against all of their most fervent wishes and desires, with 65.9% of county residents voting in favor of legalization, let us dispense with the pettiness and this idea that our elected leaders and out-of-state property owners somehow know better than we do.
Let us say this loud and clear: Cape May County is a legal weed-supporting county by and large, so light it up, take a puff, pass to the right if someone is with you. The cat is out of the bag and we will not stuff it back in.