ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey town is welcoming weed from open arms.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy promised to legalize recreational marijuana during his first 100 days in office, and word has quickly spread around Asbury Park that the mayor and city council members are onboard.
“I’ll take some,” said Sonja Mack.
“I don’t see the difference between drinking and smoking marijuana, so I’m for it,” said Julie Arnsdoff.
“Sure, why not? It’s better than getting it illegally,” said Jack Levine. “Maybe the government can make some money off of it.”
That is exactly what Gov.-elect Murphy is counting on, predicting the marijuana industry could bring in $300 million in tax revenue for the state.
Asbury Park Mayor John Moor is already making plans to open dispensaries for medical and recreational weed once the legislation becomes state law.
“If somebody wants to sit in their house and smoke a bong or joint, I have no problem with abiding by the state law.” Moor said. “Maybe Asbury Park is the California of the East Coast, where we start things and people follow.”
But where some see a boost for the economy, others see a disaster waiting to happen. Mayors of several shore towns are against legalizing weed, some even introducing ordinances to ban dispensaries.
“I want to safeguard our community our residents and our visitors,” said Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz.
And some folks in Asbury Park agree.
“I don’t think we should legalize it,” said Anna Ganthier.
“It has to be governed,” Levine said. “The owners of the marijuana places have to be responsible.”
Mayor Moor said indeed it would be governed.
“Asbury Park has no problem with it being sold in Asbury Park,” he said. “But it will be done the right way, the legal way, and we’ll enforce all laws.”
The mayor said while dispensaries will be strictly regulated, it is high time his town gets with the times.
Depending on how long it takes lawmakers in Trenton to pass the legislation, dispensaries could start going up in Asbury Park by the end of the year.