Mayor Mathew Moench issued the following statement with the support of the Bridgewater Township Council:
“Earlier this week, Governor Murphy and members of the legislature enacted anti-child, anti-family, and anti-police legislation which goes well beyond the reasonable expectations of those who supported legalization for adult usage. Instead of protecting our children, while allowing adults to make decisions for themselves, this legislation effectively insulates minors from facing any consequences from underage use and removes any meaningful deterrents. Worse still, it not only protects underage drug use, but it removes parents and guardians from being part of the early solution to prevent future drug use. It punishes our police officers from taking steps to enforce the law by threatening them with a third-degree crime for investigating potential underage drug use. This places our children, our officers, and our community at risk.
“In the wake of these dangerous policies from the state, it falls upon us to step up to protect our community. To that end, I am calling for the following actions:
1) Reinstatement of the D.A.R.E. program or similar anti-drug educational program for our school-age children;
2) Implementation of an Ordinance prohibiting the sale of recreational marijuana in Bridgewater;
3) Implementation of an Ordinance prohibiting the smoking of marijuana in any public place;
4) Allocating additional resources in the 2021 budget for a general public awareness campaign on the dangers of recreational marijuana with a focus on underage usage;
5) Directing our Youth Services and Municipal Alliance Committees work to develop new programming opportunities to expand the services to the public with regard to efforts to combat drug abuse disorder and alcoholism.
“This legislation implemented this week caters to the fringes of those individuals who support adult recreational marijuana usage. If this policy were really about social justice and respecting individual rights, individuals would be able to grow their own marijuana and the penalties for underage use would be equal to that of underage alcohol usage. But it isn’t. This week’s actions by Governor Murphy were about political expediency at the expense and detriment of our children and communities like ours.
“However, we will work hard to mitigate the harmful impacts of these policies on our community and will not stop fighting for our Bridgewater families.”