Barnegat Mayor Petitioning Against Legal Weed in New Jersey

Jan 30, 2019

Barnegat Township Mayor Alfonso Cirulli is putting himself on the front lines in fighting the proposed legalization of marijuana.

Currently, marijuana is criminalized for recreational use in New Jersey, but permitted for medical use. Gov. Phil Murphy had vowed to legalize recreational marijuana within the first 100 days of his administration last year, but the bill has yet to come up for a vote in the Assembly and Senate. It was approved lat Niovember by Senate and Assembly committees, but it has stalled since.

Cirulli recently circulated a petition which reads, “We the undersigned are against Gov. Murphy’s proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. Marijuana is a gateway drug which will have a devastating effect on our youth and society in general. The nation is battling an opioid addiction which is claiming 72,000 lives a year.”

“I’ve been circulating the petitions in local churches,” said Cirulli. “I don’t know how many signatures I have, but it is definitely getting support.”

He plans to address the issue at the state mayors association winter conference on Thursday, Jan. 31 in Trenton.

“With my nearly 33 years in education, I’ve buried enough kids to know what marijuana can lead to,” said Cirulli, a former assistant principal of Pinelands Regional. “Another problem is that the marijuana being sold today is 20 to 40 times stronger than what was around in the ’60s. Some dealers package them in gummy bears, so now a kid could accidentally ingest it.” 

Cirulli said Murphy’s proposal is getting strong opposition from legislators representing large urban areas.

“They see the devastating effects of marijuana and opioid use,” he said. “If anyone should know what drug use does, it is lawmakers from the big cities.”  

Cirulli said Murphy’s timing in promoting legalized recreational use is disturbing.

“New Jersey, like most other states, is in the midst of an opioid crisis,” he said. “Our police department is doing its best to arrest drug dealers and drive them out. If this measure is signed into law, now more and more people will have access to drugs. It doesn’t make any sense.”  —E.E.   


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