By Tedezia Liddell
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – As New Jersey officials consider legalizing recreational marijuana use by adults, Camden County College students express their perspectives on the matter.

As of March, lawmakers were working on a bill to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana in New Jersey. The bill, whose prime sponsor is State Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari, reads in part, “It is the intent of the people of New Jersey to adopt a new approach to our marijuana policies by taxing, controlling and legalizing marijuana like alcohol for adults; it is the intent of the people of New Jersey that the provisions of this act will prevent the sale or distribution of marijuana to persons under 21 years of age.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has said he is in favor of legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana. In his annual State of the State Address in January, Murphy stated, “By legalizing adult use marijuana, first and foremost we can reverse the inequality and unfairness left from years of failed drug policies and shift public safety resources to where they can do the most good. We must ensure that those with a past mark on their records because of a low-level offense can have that stain removed, so they can move forward to get a stable job or an education.”

Some Camden County College students said they are not opposed to the bill but believe it will not have much of an effect.

“I don’t think legalizing it will change the use of people doing it. Even if they do legalize it, I think people under 21 would still be able to get marijuana from older friends,” said Elizabeth Bailey, a 19-year-old student. “There are always people looking for a way around state laws and legal marijuana would probably have so many restrictions.”

Said another student, 20-year-old Gabrielle Berardi, “I am not against it. I think it’s just a waste of time when officials need to worry about more detrimental drugs that continue to be a problem.”

However, Jackie Countey, a 24-year-old student, said she opposed the bill. “It will not be a good thing for people and it will create more problems,” Countey said. “A drug is a drug and I just don’t think that a bill legalizing recreational marijuana can be good for anyone.”

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