TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey State Sen. Ronald Rice (D) is claiming that legalizing recreational marijuana in the state is likely to lead to the sale of marijuana sex toys, according to NJTV News. Rice is the leader of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus and is opposed to marijuana legalization.
On July 18, the senator told reporters from the PBS affiliate NJTV News that legalizing recreational marijuana results in a significant rise of the population's drug use and serves as a gateway drug. Rice said that marijuana legalization would allow retailers to set up pot shops in affluent areas with marijuana sex toys and call them dispensaries.
"They want to call them dispensaries, but they're going to be stores that do retail selling cupcakes with marijuana, candies with marijuana, sex toys and oils with marijuana, lipsticks with marijuana, all those kinds of products that kids can get and people can get," said Rice, adding that wealthy neighborhoods would be infected.
Regardless of Marijuana Sex Toys, Other New Jersey Senators Are in Support of Marijuana Legalization
The senator's comments come just as the state considers legalizing marijuana. The New Jersey State Legislature is debating a recreational pot bill introduced by state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D) in June. The bill is also sponsored by the Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D).
The legislation would require the state to allow for at least 218 marijuana dispensaries with at least 120 retailers for recreational marijuana consumers. The remaining dispensaries would be for medical marijuana consumers only.
The pot bill also calls for the 7 percent sales tax on medical marijuana to be phased out over a three-year period. Local communities would be allowed to ban dispensaries from operating within city limits provided the local government passes such an ordinance within 180 days of the implementation of the marijuana law.
Dispensaries would also be permitted to allow an area for customers to consume marijuana on the premises and failing a drug test for marijuana use could not be used to deny an individual employment, medical care, or housing unless it violates federal law.
Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D) disagrees with Sen. Rice and supports legalizing marijuana provided the legislation includes expungements for prior marijuana cases. Holley traveled to Colorado to note how the state implemented legalization and was convinced that legislation in New Jersey could benefit communities targeted by the war on drugs.
“Expungements have to happen. I will not support it unless there’s language in there to support expungement,” he said. He went on to say that people of color are incarcerated for small amounts of the drug, while others aren't penalized. The ACLU reports that Black people are arrested at three times the rate of Caucasians for marijuana possession in New Jersey.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D) also supports legalizing marijuana and introduced the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017. The Marijuana Justice Act would amend the Controlled Substances Act by removing the drug from the list of Schedule I narcotics and eliminate criminal penalties for possession.
The bill would also require federal courts to expunge marijuana possession and marijuana use convictions as well as withhold federal funding from states that without statutes legalizing the drug.
States that have disproportionate arrest or incarceration rates for pot crimes would also have federal funding withheld. The pot bill would also establish grants that would be reinvested into the communities that were most affected by the drug war.
Senator Rice says the demographics in New Jersey are not the same as in Colorado and his belief remains unchanged that marijuana legalization will lead to more drug use and debauchery.