There’s no reason to believe we can’t get there. This is not a rolling-off-the-log one, though. This is not one you get overnight. This takes time. We’re in that process right now.
– NJ Governor Phil Murphy, NJ 2019 Budget Address, May 8, 2018
Unlike the clown boy we have in the White House who is doing his illegal best to turn this damaged nation into a full-blown banana republic, we here in NJ hold our officials to a higher standard. Actually, we don’t. This place is a cesspool and has been for decades. The last guy here, you know, Chris Christie, was so spectacularly corrupt his record-low polling became legend. It led to the successful run by uber-progressive, Phil Murphy. As stated by Mr. Murphy throughout his campaign, the linchpin/cornerstone/foundation of his economic agenda and outlook for the Garden State leaned heavily on the rightful legalization of marijuana for sale, growth, and industry. The American way. Private sector growth and ingenuity free from government intercedence (especially this draconian federal government — that’s right Jeff Sessions, we mean you).
In other words: Don’t Tread on Us!
And while it is true that Murphy surfed into office on an anti-Trump wave last November, a wave growing by the month, the results of which will be evident this fall or not — we’ll see — there was no doubt his forward-thinking and fresh take on this issue was key to the resurgence of this state. It certainly was key to this space’s rousing endorsement of Mr. Murphy. This came, of course, with a caveat: Murphy had to get on this. Has it happened yet? Nope.
As I write this, Murphy’s party has total dominance in the state legislature, a body that had already drafted a bill to legalize marijuana when Christie was still limping around Trenton trying to avoid tomatoes being thrown at him buy wandering urchins, which was duly supported by our new governor, who, once again, stomped to victory.
But it has been over the requisite 100 days — a mark that is common for government executives — of this administration and we have seen nothing but muckraking, filibustering, the usual religious, voodoo science and morality cries against legalization. This is the kind of cheap political nonsense that kept slavery alive for well over a century, massacred, then “relocated” native Americans, kept women from voting for 140 years, battled against civil rights, marriage equality, and on and on. It should be beyond our scope in the 21st century. This is not Alabama or anywhere near the god-forsaken South. This is New Jersey. Enough of this shit. Let’s get down to brass tax and stop acting like it’s 1888, despite the old-fart, stuck in the 19th century national administration run by a guy who should be on a porch screaming at kids to get off his lawn.
Based on several April polls conducted by NJ.com, half the citizens of our weird state are in favor of legalizing weed. And these are people over 45. People under that and especially people under 40 — in other words the future of this country, not fossils like this bleating troll of an attorney general, Jefferson Sessions, who is so goddamn out of it he still thinks Reefer Madness is a documentary and considers “high-tea” a code for shooting up, support this measure. Also, six out of 10 NJ residents believe (and they are very correct) that bringing a new industry into the state will not only help with infrastructure (have you seen some of these byways around here?) and assist in funding schools and valued civil servants like firemen and police, etc.
And this is a majority. Murphy won with 55 percent of the vote. The current president of the U.S. didn’t get 50 percent of the electorate and he was duly slaughtered in the raw democratic vote by a woman who was generally despised. We have a true executive here. Not some also-ran pulled in by frightened steel worker union types. This is what democracy has wrought. Murphy has a mandate. Let’s get to it.
A few months back, I published a list of your representatives and their phone numbers for those like-minded free-thinkers and true free-market champions to pepper them with reason. That time has passed. It is time to begin to berate and cajole. We pay their salaries and it is time they begin to understand this, and to also understand one key element of what has changed around here in the past month.
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court correctly lifted an imbecilic ban on sport book in this country — another in a long line of ridiculous Judea-Christian edicts on “sin” versus “law”, as if nine-tenths of nearly everything humans do for money or sport is not a sin. Sin is how you make a buck and keep the trains rolling, move merchandise and get along. Again, if we were to base everything on morality we would have no business in this country, or really a country. Come on. Gambling, like recreational drugs — booze, coffee, etc. — and even killing machines like guns — is big business. Where is the morality there? It is not there. So shove it.
What was the highest court in the land’s argument for legalizing the betting on sporting events nationwide? It’s kind of crazy to allow one state the right to supply something to its citizenry and another a different set of criteria, or as Justice Samuel Alito reasoned:
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”
The key word there is “regulate”. Now apparently those who oppose the legalization are also the same ones who are anti-regulation. The EPA currently is a gutted joke run by a corrupt psychopath who believes the entire operation has less to do with the government preventing dangerous attacks on our environment and the general health than it is to get him swanky hotel rooms and free jet rides. So don’t give me any of your regulatory nonsense. Congress shall make no laws infringing upon our freedom. State rights! All that shit. Whatever hook you want to hang your tired ideology on it is time to couple the plant with the wager. There is no difference. Get off your high (pun intended) horse and dig on the reality of this.
I am not sure I can write anything more on the details of this. It is all out there. Some of our legislators have reportedly checked out the industry of what has turned Colorado’s economy around and they are starting to waver, because money makes the world go ‘round and because marijuana is less harmful to the human body and mind than alcohol, so it is time to stop pretending we’re God, or whatever, and begin to see clearly the path that is open to us. Let the Volstead Act, a crazy attempt at morally adjudicating our behavior, be your guide. Prohibition never works. Never will. Like supply-side economics and leech bloodletting.
This is the last time I shall persuade Mr. Murphy to come through with his campaign promise. This ain’t no mythical wall some real estate game show host made up because daddy didn’t love him. This is sound policy and I expect the governor to find a way to make it happen. The next words that come from here will be filled with vitriol and rage and the excuses will not be tolerated, nor should they by you.
Get to work.
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; “Accidentally Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon”