A man enters the front doors of the New Jersey State Capitol Building in Denton, New Jersey.

Jim Bowen

New Jersey Municipal Prosecutor Calls for Adult-Use Legalization

During a New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee on a bill to legalize recreational cannabis use in the state, Jon-Henry Barr, a municipal prosecutor in Clark, urged lawmakers to pass the legislation, saying he has “seen too many lives ruined or damaged” due to prohibition.

“Legalize and regulate it like we do with tobacco and alcohol,” Barr, the former president of the New Jersey Municipal Prosecutors Association, said. “…I’ll continue to enforce the law – that is my sworn duty. But I will not endorse the law.”

The hearing was the measure’s first of many that will occur over the next nine months as lawmakers and advocates feel now is the time to move forward, with Gov. Chris Christie – an outspoken prohibitionist – having reached his term limits.

“Laws that have prohibited marijuana have not worked,” said State Sen. Nick Scutari, a Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, in the report. “Next year we will have a new governor but we should begin shaping a marijuana law now that ends prohibition and treats residents humanely.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, and AAA were counted among the organizations that sent representatives to testify during the hearing, along with New Jersey residents. The next hearing is not yet scheduled.

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