Legalize, liberalize pot

It is great that Democrat Phil Murphy was elected governor and cannabis is going to be legalized in New Jersey, but let’s make it work for everyone. There are some flaws in the current proposal, like the too-high age requirement and unfair home-grow ban.

A suggested 21 age requirement is not based on science (in other states 21 was simply a marketing gimmick for ballot initiatives to regulate like alcohol), and unlike alcohol, federal highway funds are not tied to a 21 marijuana age. Making pot legal while burdening 18 to 20 year olds with a possible serious adult drug conviction for possession would be wrong. The marijuana age should be no higher than 18, ideally 16, as cannabis is a safe substance that one cannot overdose on.

Also, it is crazy to say we will legalize cannabis but not allow people to grow it at home. We’ve seen what a scam liquor licenses are in New Jersey, and the people don’t want to see a reefer business that is a similar monopoly.

As governor, Murphy must empower the poor, youth, women and minorities to grow the industry using a non-profit collective ownership model, and ask the NAACP, ACLU, Coalition for Medical Marijuana NJ and Garden State Equality for advice on licensing and affirmative action.

Rev. Eric Hafner

Toms River

Voter loyalty to Sweeney beat NJEA millions

State Senate President Steve Sweeney has been loyal to the people of his district and in return they were loyal to him on Nov. 7. Despite being the target of a $5-to-$7 million hit job from the leadership of the New Jersey Education Association, the voters of District 3 rejected the false claims and almost to a woman and man came out and repeated how they voted in 2013, sending Steve Sweeney back to Trenton. In 2013, Sweeney received 31,045 votes and in 2017 he received 31,540. That is loyalty! That is consistency! Millions of dollars spent and almost no votes changed.

The message is clear. Money will not buy loyalty and negative campaigns will not always succeed in destroying a reputation. The NJEA leadership simply did not understand the effect of loyalty in an election and will now have to answer for wasting millions of its members’ hard earned money in an election where they did not sway one vote.

There are times, maybe not often enough, where voters ignore the negativity and simply vote for the person they know. It appears the voters of the legislative 3rd District know a lot about the state senator and voiced their support.

Michael J. Makara

Mays Landing