Time to get what Doctor Hunter S. Thompson once called the “rock and roll vote” out of mothballs and get to the polls this Nov. 7 to elect Democrat Phil Murphy the next governor of New Jersey, and move this state out of the dark ages and cease this nearly century-old nonsense of criminalizing a plant; a movement started to save the original Fake News maven, William Randolph Hearst, the author of the Marijuana Tax Act legislation passed by Congress in August of 1937, from having his hemp industry wiped out. This law, strengthened by the idiotic Controlled Substances Act of 1970, was the genesis of the modern day drug war that is directly responsible for a booming black market for cannabis–much like the previously stupid Volstead Act (or Prohibition) created organized crime–and the incarceration of millions of pot smokers. It is failed nonsense, and if this country is going to have lunatics running it at the federal level we need to control our state and give voice to a new generation of voter.
This is not a drug issue. This is a new-voice issue. This is wiping out ignorance and bullshit moral proselytizing to keep something illegal that is less harmful than every ounce of liquor you can buy right now legally. It is a joke, and when you are young you know this. For some reason, when people get older and maybe have kids and don’t want them buying shitty pot from scumbag street vendors, they tend to sway the other way on this issue. I am no longer young and have a kid and have not budged, but if you read this paper you probably are and you need to get off your ass and vote for Murphy to end this ridiculous charade.
This isn’t even a generational thing. People have been smoking marijuana for centuries. It is fabricated demonization, filled with the kind of puritanical moralization that kept minorities and women down for decades; all of it built and sold on false pretenses. There is far more evidence that hamburgers and sugar drinks are destroying the fabric of this nation (environmentally, physically and mentally) than this natural, completely organic substance that has been secretly making billions of drug cartels and asshole dealers selling substandard product with no regulation and worse-still no money for our tax coffers. Never mind the billions lost on farming, tendering and manufacturing. A 2016 New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform study estimates a legal marijuana market is worth $1.3 billion in New Jersey and could generate $300 million in state tax revenue, which is why now six out of ten state residents support legalization.
But we shan’t waste any more space telling you something you already know. If you think marijuana is evil or somehow more dangerous than whiskey, well then, enjoy your fantasy land. There are still people who will tell you the earth is flat. But right now we are a week from expunging the worst governor this state has seen in this reporter’s lifetime as our state congress is poised with a bill (S3195) to legalize weed to 1) Immediately decriminalize marijuana possession of up to 50 grams and allow people who have been arrested for pot possession to expunge their records, 2) Establish a Division of Marijuana Enforcement in the state Attorney General’s Office which would create the rules used to govern the legal market of growers and sellers, 3) Allow people to possess up to one ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of edible products infused with cannabis, 72 ounces in liquid form and seven grams of marijuana concentrate, 4) Impose a sales tax on recreational sales beginning at seven-percent in the first year, climbing to ten percent in the second year and jumping five percent more each year until it reaches 25 percent, 5) Abolish taxes on medical marijuana, 6) Give the five existing medical marijuana dispensary nonprofit groups the first crack at selling recreational pot.
It’s sensible, entrepreneurial and constitutional, and I will gladly suspend my “never vote for a major party candidate, much less endorse one” to add this fully-throated endorsement for Murphy, who has bravely stated more than once that he will stand with state’s rights over the draconian big-government machine of Donald Trump, Mike Pence and AG Jeff Sessions to allow New Jersey to become the ninth state in our great nation to legalize something that never should have been illegal in the first place.
Of course it is impossible to see Murphy losing to Chris Christie’s lackey, Kim Gaudagn, even if he endorsed legalizing the use of bazookas by ten-year-olds. Voting for Gaugagn after eight years of Christie horrors will give you more of what this state has already deemed a complete and utter clusterfuck. Christie’s approval ratings, covered here in length in past columns, are at a record low for anyone above dog-catcher and despite his “fiscal conservative” claims and his “strong against crime” boasts my property taxes have gone up every year since he’s been in office and there are parts of this state (I’m looking at you Camden) that are still high-crime havens. Not to mention Christie standing on a debate stage during the Republican primaries last year and saying he would trample state’s rights by using his power if he were president to send in the national guard to make arrests against marijuana smokers. Another so-called smaller-government, freedom-first phony who wants the giant federal government bashing in your doors to implement their “Christian” clap-trap–see marriage equality, women’s reproductive rights.
Don’t tread on me, indeed.
But never mind all of that, this needs to be a statement, our statement, the Jersey statement; we will not be cowed by bleating fossils like Sessions and his new “drug crackdowns” or the game-show president’s retro, “Just Say No,” silliness. If anything, this gaggle of simpletons proves that being anti-drug is actually a detriment. Give me a man who can handle his high, not some whining ass that forces everyone else into tea-totaling because he’s afraid of mother nature.
I put a call into the Murphy campaign during the writing of this piece and I made it clear to them if I go to the mat for this Irishman, I expect results. None of this Trumpian “get Mexico to pay for the wall,” “repeal Obamacare,” “hold China accountable for currency manipulation” or even “calling a state of emergency against opioid abuse,” none of which he has done or will do. Murphy needs to know that if we cast this vote, this will get done. Right away.
Do yourself no favors and “like” this idiot at www.facebook.com/jc.author
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey,” “Fear No Art,” “Trailing Jesus,” “Midnight For Cinderella” and “Y. “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”
And coming in June, 2018; “Accidently Like a Martyr, The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon”