With Election Day fast approaching -- and over one million votes already cast so far this election cycle -- the Sussex County Democratic Committee would like to take this opportunity to urge our fellow Sussex County residents to support the ballot question regarding the legalization of marijuana in the State of New Jersey.

 

The prohibition of marijuana in the State of New Jersey is responsible for approximately 32,000 arrests a year and disproportionately impacts minority communities. Those arrests cost money — $143 million to be exact — and are funded by taxpayer dollars. If the Legalization of Marijuana amendment wins favor with voters this November and moves forward, it is slated to be a massive economic boom for the State of New Jersey.  An incredible $300+ million in expected tax revenue could potentially be brought to our state if the prohibition of marijuana were ended and the recreational but responsibly regulated sale of the substance was legalized. This new market would ultimately bring tens of thousands of jobs to New Jersey, providing new employment opportunities and a substantial form of economic relief to New Jerseyans who have fallen on hard times.

 

The sensible legalization of marijuana presents the State of New Jersey with both opportunities and benefits that Sussex County must seize upon. Sussex County’s expansive farmland could be directly utilized to our advantage upon the legalization of marijuana. Dedicating unused local land to the growth and cultivation of cannabis crops could unleash a cascade of effects that helps us build real financial momentum here in Sussex County. If the legalization amendment passes on November 3rd, the county might finally have the economic engine it needs to lower taxes and bring significant job prospects and transportation here.

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There remains, however, another hurdle on the local level that we must clear in Sussex County. Town councils around the county have already begun plans to block the sale and/or purchase of marijuana in their municipalities, effectively hindering the ability for the potential benefits of a legal cannabis industry to reach their residents. 

 

This week, the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders held a meeting at which they were slated to ask the voters of Sussex county to vote NO against the legalization of marijuana. (The meeting was originally scheduled for October 14th but postponed until the 15th, pushed back so that two of the freeholders could attend the local Trump rally in the county. This is the same event that famously received a cease-and-desist order from the Trump Campaign, telling them to cancel the rally due to the organizers having no real affiliation with the President or his campaign. The event went on anyway and Freeholder Yardley, accompanied by Freeholder Fantasia, even spoke to the largely mask-free crowd). At the meeting on the 15th, after hearing from residents concerned with the board's unilateral plans, the Freeholders chose not to push another pointless resolution based solely on their personal misgivings with legal marijuana in the state. We applaud the residents of Sussex County who stood up to the petty politics of the Sussex County Freeholder board and stood up for themselves and their communities.

 

The Sussex County Democratic Committee hopes that the Freeholder board and the town councils in question will make decisions based upon facts and data, not emotion rooted in antiquated stereotypes. We implore the Freeholder board to act in the best interests of residents regarding this potential windfall of resources and revenue by not standing in the way of this ballot question -- and allowing the people of Sussex County to make their own decisions without forcing them to endure any more political grandstanding. We also hope that Sussex County residents will stay vigilant and aware of their local leadership's plans for the fiscal future of their neighborhoods and our county.

 

Do not forget to turn your Vote by Mail ballot over and vote “YES” on Question 1: “Constitutional Amendment to Legalize Marijuana.”  The passage of this amendment will be beneficial for the State of New Jersey, Sussex County, and hard-working taxpayers everywhere!

 

- The Sussex County Democratic Committee