NJ: 7 Candidates For Trenton Mayor. 1 Question About Marijuana

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Photo Credit: Associated Press

Seven candidates remain in the race to be Trenton’s next mayor. The election is May 8.

And NJ.com wants to know how they stand on one of the more debatable issues in the state, and across the country – the possible legalization of marijuana. It could have a big impact on the city, from police work to public dispensaries and all the money and revenues it’s predicted to produce.

So we asked each candidate the same question, “Do you support the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey (as Gov. Murphy has pledged to do)?”

We told the candidates we were looking for a short, one-word answer, and then an explanation if they like. Here’s how they answered:

Reed Gusciora

Yes.

“I unequivocally support the legalization of recreational marijuana in New Jersey, both as an economic engine, and as a remedy for one of the greatest, most entrenched social injustices of our time,” the state Assemblyman said.

He went on: “As State Assemblyman, I wrote, sponsored and passed the bill creating the State’s medical marijuana program, and have introduced a recreational legalization bill that is deeply conscious of all the issues that underpin the legalization debate, and that provides remedies to the communities most affected by the failed War on Drugs. Without a doubt, I have been a leading public voice in the debate about marijuana in New Jersey for more than two decades, and I look forward to continuing my role in the conversation as Mayor of Trenton.”

Paul Perez

Yes

“Legalization can reduce the unnecessary arrest, conviction and incarceration of individuals that have disproportionately fallen upon minority populations,” the businessman said.

“When the new law is adopted, my administration will develop and execute a strategic implementation plan geared for providing jobs for local residents and developing revenue streams that will serve as an economic accelerator for the City of Trenton.  We will also study other cities where legalization has happened to learn from their successes and mistakes; and, carefully monitor the public health implications of legalization with strategies in place to ameliorate negative consequences,” he said.

Walker Worthy Jr.

Yes.

“The issue here is that black men and other people of color have been disproportionately penalized for possession of marijuana, in terms of their likelihood of being arrested, charged, and sent to jail, as well as the length of their sentences,” said Worthy, Mercer County’s deputy clerk.

“Legalizing marijuana will not solve the racial inequalities in our justice system, but it will prevent undue charges, fines, and jail times for this particular issue, which I believe is a step in the right direction.”

Darren “Freedom” Green

Yes.

“I think Gov. Murphy is spot on and progressively doing something that we haven’t done before, gotten in them game early. We especially in Trenton with the historically poor leadership here have a horrible way of sitting, waiting and watching as greatness and opportunity unfolds,” said Green, a community advocate. “As mayor, I would align with the (governor and ) use my platform to educate, expose and empower the people living here.”

Green sees marijuana two ways: “I would use this for medicinal, which would move us away from the dangerous and deadly opioids abuse. This can be used to treat ailments like sickle cell and cancer patients and the pain they deal with daily. Second, I see the dispensaries as an economic opportunity for our state and of course city. We have to get away from the sick mindset that Trenton has a money tree at city hall.”

Annette H. Lartigue

Yes.

The former Trenton councilwoman and current administrator at the county’s social services board said she supports, “medicinal use for many aliments including cancer, the need to decriminalize and revenue.”

Alex Bethea

NO. (in all caps)

“While it may not be the popular answer and I know that it will turn some voters off, I’m not looking to tell you what you want to hear,” Bethea, a current city councilman says. “I’m looking to turn my city around. I don’t feel it’s worth the risk of it getting into the hands of our youth and creating more problems. Everyone boasts the economic effect that it’s had on other communities, but we need to further look at the cost & who paid the price.”

“How many people have become homeless, lost their jobs, lost their families? I would look into the decriminalization and penalties associated, however, I would not sell my community out for any dollar amount,” he said.

Duncan Harrison

YES. (all caps)

No further comment.

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