Cranbury mayor talks marijuana after speaking at hearing in Trenton

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, Mar 8, 2018 | MonroeNow 

A local mayor joined the debate about whether to legalize marijuana on Monday during an Assembly hearing that featured speakers from both sides of the issue.

Cranbury Township Mayor Glenn Johnson, who does not support recreational marijuana use, was one of the speakers opposing legalization, though his community does have a cannabis dispensary for medical purposes.

“I don’t know if this is going to become legal in the state, but there is an enormous amount of highly educated, paid people working on the legalization of this,” Johnson said an interview with MonroeNow. “We are up against very well-prepared, highly-education people.”

During the hours-long hearing, 150 speakers were present, most of whom supported legalizing marijuana.

Though, there is no bill pending before the New Jersey Legislature to legalize marijuana, lawmakers are considering a proposal that would set the legal age for recreational cannabis use at 21 years old.

Recreational legalization supporters say it could boost state revenues since lawmakers could add a tax, help fight against the black market distribution and curb drug arrests.

While many opponents dispute those facts, Johnson raises quality of life concerns.

Similar to how cocaine become more dangerous when people created  crack, Johnson said “I’ve heard they are making an oil that is more potent than the [marijuana] product. Someone found a way to extract the oil [from marijuana] and are left with the active ingredient that can be snorted or god knows what.”

The unknown dangers that could develop from recreational use concerns Johnson. But also exposure to minors.

“In the same way we don’t want our kids around people who are drunk, we don’t want them around people who are high,” Johnson said.

He conceded that if recreational use did become legalized he would favor having location restrictions.

But his position on recreational use is not the same for medical. He said he understands that there are people who need marijuana for medical reasons. “I have complete sympathy for people who need the stuff.”

Governor Murphy has supported legalizing marijuana, linking it as an element to reforming criminal justice.

Cranbury’s official government position reflects the mayor’s. The Township Committee is scheduled to have a vote on legislation that would ban the sale of recreational marijuana in the community at the March 12 meeting. The move mirrors several communities that have sought to block its sale.