South Jersey Democrats Killed Gay Marriage and Marijuana Legalization

The same South Jersey districts that opposed marijuana legalization in 2019 also voted no to marriage equality legislation in 2010. Only 1 of 8 South Jersey senators voted yes the first time they had the chance to approve gay marriage and only 2 out of 8 South Jersey Senators are ready to vote to legalize marijuana in 2019.

If the New Jersey Assembly voted to legalize marijuana tomorrow, the bill would pass with votes to spare. Not so in the State Senate where the votes were never there.

The tally is reportedly very close however.

That makes the cluster of NO votes from South Jersey so conspicuous. Namely we’re referring to Senators Beach, Cruz Perez, Madden, Addiego, Andrzejczak, and Brown, all reportedly NO votes on cannabis legalization. All but one (Brown) are George Norcross loyalists.

It was hard not to notice the same districts that tanked marijuana legalization in 2019 also sank marriage equality legislation back in 2010.

The New Jersey Senate first voted on gay marriage back on January 7, 2010 and it failed spectacularly. The final tally: 20 NAYs, 14 YAYs and 5 abstentions.

The late Jim Whelan was the only Senator south of I-195 to vote yes that day. All of his south Jersey colleagues voted no or abstained.

All of of them.

Coincidentally, these very same districts are the primary obstacles to cannabis legalization in 2019.

Let’s take a peek, shall we?

District 1

NJ’s 1st legislative district which includes Cape May County plus parts of Atlantic and Cumberland is represented by Senator Bob Andrzejczak, machine democrat, who took his seat when Jeff Van Drew went to Congress.  Van Drew voted against gay marriage each and every time it came before him including that first Senate vote in 2010.

Fast-forward to today and Senator Andrzejczak is a NO vote on cannabis legalization in 2019.

There’s an easy example of the point I’m trying to make that social change usually happens in New Jersey despite the South Jersey democrats.

District 2

Back in 2010, NJ’s (Atlantic County-centric) 2nd legislative district was rep’d in Trenton by the late Jim Whelan, a democrat and the only Senator south of I-195 to vote YES on marriage equality when the Senate took a vote in 2010.

The seat is currently held by GOP State Senator Chris Brown, who’s reportedly a SOFT NO vote on legalized cannabis.

This district is the exception that proves the rule that most social change in New Jersey comes despite the southern contingent.

District 3

New Jersey’s 3rd legislative district is Salem and most of Gloucester and Cumberland Counties. NJ Senate President has held this seat since 2002.

When marriage equality came before the full senate in January of 2010, Sweeney chose to abstain altogether. He didn’t vote. He just sat there in the well of the Senate, stone-faced and stubborn, as the atmosphere grew increasingly dramatic around him.

Sweeney was the Senate majority leader at the time, an ironic title for someone unwilling to lead one way of the other.

The drama was provided by outgoing Senate President Dick Codey who surely knew the knives were out for him. Knowing it would embarrass his vanquisher for all eternity, Codey gave us one last memorable spectacle that enabled lawmakers like Steve Sweeney to reveal their true selves.

Which they surely did.

Sweeney says he wants to end cannabis prohibition. But his unwillingness (or inability) to coax any more votes from fellow Norcross Dems reveals his priorities, namely to deprive the Governor a win on this issues.

On stuff like gas pipelines and Dana Redd’s pension, South Jersey democrats march lock step. But the minute you wanna let gays get married or try to stop locking people up for weed, they lose their courage and scamper.

District 4

New Jersey’s 4th Legislative district seat is held, then and now, by Senator Fred Madden a big fat HELL NO on legalization now and forever. His NO vote on marriage equality on 1/10/2010 still stings.

Just more resounding proof that social change usually happens in New Jersey despite the South Jersey democrats.

District 5

Senator Nilsa Cruz Perez represents the Camden City-based 5th legislative district and is reportedly a soft NO on legalization.

This seat was open during the ill-fated marriage vote on 2010. Outgoing Senator Dana Redd became Mayor of Camden only days prior (Jan 5 2010) and Donald Norcross didn’t take over that seat until January 19th.

If you’re keeping score, through five districts, we’re up to 1 YES vote on marriage (Whelan RIP) and 1 unenthusiastic YES vote to legalize pot in Sweeney.

District 6

This suburban Camden County district is represented in Trenton by Senator James Beach who’s reportedly not quite ready to legalize pot just yet. He wasn’t ready to legalize gay marriage the first chance he got either and like Sweeney, he too abstained back in 2010.

District 7

The west side of sprawling Burlington County makes up the 7th district, currently represented by Senator Troy Singleton, an outspoken proponent of cannabis legalization. He’s a firm YES vote with a durable track record to prove it.

Singleton replaced Former Senator Diane Allen who was undergoing cancer treatment in 2010 and medically unfit to make the marriage vote. Senator Raymond Lesniak once told me he explored the possibility of transporting his ailing colleague via sterile ambulance into the State House parking garage if they got to 20 YES votes and needed her to bring it over the top.

But it’s hard to get close to 20 votes when Senators are abstaining in clusters but I digress.

District 8

Burlington’s east side makes up NJ’s 8th legislative district, rep’d in 2010 by Senator Phil Haines – NO on marriage equality – who’s currently a BurlCo superior court judge.

The 8th’s current Senator Dawn Addiego voted down gay marriage as an Assemblywoman every chance she got. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she’s not not ready to end cannabis prohibition.

Final Tally

The math is super easy on this one: 1) only one of eight South Jersey senators voted YES the first time they had the chance to approve gay marriage and  2) only two (of 8) South Jersey Senators are poised to vote to legalize pot in 2019.

In both cases, 7 of the 8 legislators were Norcross-aligned Democrats.

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  • Brian Kelly

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    • Brian Kelly
      • Brian Kelly

        In the prohibitionist’s world, anybody who consumes the slightest amount of marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes are “stoners” and “dopers” that need to be incarcerated in order to to protect society.

        In their world, any marijuana use equates to marijuana abuse, and it is their God given duty to worry about “saving us all” from the “evils” of marijuana use.

        Who are they to tell us we can’t choose marijuana, the safer choice instead of alcohol for relaxation, after a long, hard day, in the privacy of our own homes?

        People who consume marijuana are smart, honest, hard working, educated, and successful people too, who “follow the law” also.(except for their marijuana consumption under it’s current prohibition of course) .

        Not the stereotypical live at home losers prohibitionists make them out to be. They are doctors, lawyers, professors, movie stars, and politicians too.

        Several Presidents of The United States themselves, along with Justin Trudeau, Bill Gates, and Carl Sagan have all confessed to their marijuana use. As have a long and extensive list of successful people throughout history at one point or other in their lives.

        Although that doesn’t mean a dam thing to people who will make comments like “dopers” and “stoners” about anybody who uses the slightest amount of Marijuana although it is way safer than alcohol.

        To these people any use equals abuse, and that is really ignorant and full of hypocrisy. While our society promotes, advertises, and even glorifies alcohol consumption like it’s an All American pastime.

        There is nothing worse about relaxing with a little marijuana after a long hard day than having a drink or two of alcohol.

        So come off those high horses of yours. Who are you to dictate to the rest of society that we can’t enjoy Marijuana, the safer choice over alcohol, in the privacy of our own homes?

        We’ve worked real hard our whole lives to provide for our loved ones. We don’t appreciate prohibitionists trying to impose their will and morals upon us all.

        Has a marijuana consumer ever forced you to use it? Probably not. So nobody has the right to force anybody not to either.

        Don’t try to impose your morality and “clean living” upon everybody else with Draconian Marijuana Laws, and we won’t think you’re such prohibitionist hypocrites.

        Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

        • Brian Kelly

          Marijuana Consumers Are Not Criminals!

          End the systematically failed both state and federal policies of criminalizing consumers of a natural, relatively benign plant proven to be far safer than perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol and tobacco.

          End The Federal Prohibition of Marijuana Now!

          Legalize Nationwide! State by state if need be!

          It’s time our country wakes up and learns from our history.

          Prohibition does not prevent people from consuming marijuana. The demand will be there always and therefore marijuana will always be served up to the public regardless of marijuana prohibition laws. The alcohol prohibition era criminal organizations and gangsters such as Al Capone of yesteryear are the Pablo Escobar, El Chapo and drug cartels of today.

          The Temperance Movement didn’t catch on and last in part because it was a dead horse from the start.

          Prohibition only serves to further fuel the vast wealth and corruption, violence and death attributed to the criminal organizations which flourish under it by providing marijuana to meet the continual demand at inflated prices. Just like with alcohol, marijuana prohibition doesn’t work, makes no sense, and costs the tax payers a fortune yearly.

          Legalization creates jobs, improves the economy and let’s us as a nation focus the wasted resources currently used to criminalize citizens over marijuana towards things much more needed and useful.

          This is how freedoms get taken away from The People. First, a small minority doesn’t morally approve of marijuana. Tomorrow, it’s R-Rated movies, certain books and literature and eventually that minority aspires to make every citizen conform to their personal sense of morality through laws which criminalize everything that they personally don’t approve of.

          Tell us something prohibitionists:

          Why do you feel justified in endlessly wasting billions upon billions of our yearly tax dollars continuing to arrest, criminalize, incarcerate, and hand out life long permanent criminal records to otherwise hard-working, tax-paying, adult citizens for choosing to consume marijuana although it is far safer than perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol?

          Shouldn’t their first and foremost priority be protesting the legality of alcohol if they really aren’t just biased and truly so cornered about other people on what those whom oppose marijuana legalization deem to be a “dangerous drug”?

          Why do the anti-marijuana folk apply such a blatantly obvious unfair double standard to far less dangerous marijuana that they obviously don’t apply equally to far more deadly, dangerous and harmful yet perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol?

          Legalize Nationwide!

          • Brian Kelly

            “Marijuana is 114 times safer than drinking alcohol”

            “Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say”

            “Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say New study: We should stop fighting marijuana legalization and focus on alcohol and tobacco instead By Christopher Ingraham February 23

            Compared with other recreational drugs — including alcohol — marijuana may be even safer than previously thought. And researchers may be systematically underestimating risks associated with alcohol use.

            Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.”
            -washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/23/marijuana-may-be-even-safer-than-previously-thought-researchers-say/

            “The report discovered that marijuana is 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Researchers were able to determine this by comparing the lethal doses with the amount of typical use. Through this approach, marijuana had the lowest mortality risk to users out of all the drugs they studied. In fact—because the numbers were crossed with typical daily use—marijuana is the only drug that tested as “low risk.”

            -complex.com/pop-culture/2015/02/scientific-reports-weed-114-safer-alcohol

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