As two Shore towns moved to ban marijuana dispensaries ahead of the possible statewide legalization of recreational use, the Asbury Park City Council said it would welcome them.
A majority of the city council, including Mayor John Moor, said it would be in favor of allowing licensed businesses in the city to sell weed if the state passes a legalization bill. What that bill could involve is explained in the video at the top of this story.
“I have no problem with medical or recreational marijuana, as long as it’s legally dispensed and taxed,” Moor said. Councilman Jesse Kendle, Councilwoman Eileen Chapman and Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn indicated they agreed with Moor.
Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton said she was in favor of allowing medical marijuana, but said she had not yet decided if she was in favor of the legalization of recreational pot consumption.
“My only concern is how you enforce the rules,” Clayton said. “What happens with driving under the influence charges? What happens with all those people who have been arrested? If it’s been decriminalized, would they get out of jail?”
The favorable attitude toward dispensaries in Asbury Park stands in contrast with Pt. Pleasant Beach and Berkeley Township, which have recently introduced ordinances that would ban them.
Gov.-elect Phil Murphy pledged to legalize marijuana as part of his campaign platform and has pledged to sign a legalization bill within the first 100 days of his Jan. 16 inauguration.
Murphy has largely cited social justice concerns as his reasoning for legalization. Studies have shown that black people are significantly more likely to be arrested for marijuana use or possession, despite similar use rates among white people.