South Jersey towns rush to ban pot despite NJ voters overwhelmingly supporting it

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Despite overwhelmingly being approved by voters in November, recreational marijuana has been slow to garner support at the local level.

Since the bill was signed into law Feb. 22 and guidance was issued on legalized marijuana, towns around the area have been quick to adopt their own legislation all but banning the recreational smoking of marijuana despite voters supporting it by a 67% to 32% margin. All but three of the state’s 565 municipalities voted in favor of it at the polls.

“This is what happens when police goals conflict with policy implementation,” said Benjamin Dworkin, director of Rowan University’s Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship. “In the state it’s popular, but it comes down to where you live.”

Under the N.J. Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act, towns have until Aug. 21 — 180 days from the adoption of the state law — to create any local enforcement structure. Towns that do not act by then will be governed by the state’s law.

The legalization of marijuana is expected to generate $126 million in tax revenue for the state, according to a marijuana advocacy group.

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