TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Marijuana could soon be legal in New Jersey.
Governor-elect Phil Murphy campaigned to legalize marijuana within the first 100 days of his administration.
Some local leaders have said ‘not-so-fast’ and are looking into their local pot shop ordinances.
“It’s going to catch us now because we weren’t prepared,” Rockaway Mayor Michael Dachisen said.
Dachisen said it will be up to the town council to decide to limit the number of smoke shops or ban them, his main concern is how legalization will effect the opioid crisis.
“Having marijuana become recreational has to address that it is gateway. How is law enforcement going to review who is driving under the influence?” Dachisen said.
Murphy sees dollar signs.
“You could regulate it, keep it out of the hands of minors, that’s a pretty compelling rational. And by the way on top of all that we think we can raise some revenues,” he said.
Murphy predicts $300-million in tax revenue whole others foresee a massive headache.
He hopes local communities will have the power to say ‘we don’t want this.’
“I would hope so. I know my local communities don’t want it, and they don’t want to sell it,” State Sen, Joe Pennacchio said.
Data from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area shows marijuana related traffic fatalities rose 48 percent in Colorado since legalization in 2014.
“We spent enormous amount of time studying what went right, what didn’t go right in Colorado, Oregon, California, and other states, so folks that say I don’t want this thing to be done improperly, neither do I,” Murphy said.
What do residents want?
“I think it will bring a lot of tax dollars in,” Fred Lynch said.
“Don’t have strong opinions either way. I don’t partake myself,” another resident said.
A few people said legalization should be put to a vote, others predicted that marijuana could raise car insurance rates as it has done in other states.