NJ’s $10 Million Pot Bust; State Not Moving To Decriminalize


The house at the center of this week's Big Drug Bust sits next door to Elva Wilson's home in a rural stretch of Middlesex County, N.J., says Newark Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran. Police say an ethnic Vietnamese gang grew more than 1,000 marijuana plants, estimated to be worth $10 million, in the basement under high-intensity lamps. Says Wilson: “To me, it's no big deal. We smelled it before, but we thought it was just kids partying.”

When you look at any objective measure – death, violence, disease, and addiction – alcohol ranks as the more dangerous drug of choice by far, Moran says. State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who serves as a municipal prosecutor in Linden, sees it up close. “If you talk to my detectives, they'll tell you they're just pushing it from one corner to the next,” he says. “Really, we've just created a whole lot of crime by making such harsh laws on marijuana.” As for decriminalizing marijuana, Scutari says New Jersey is a long way off. “Our state is not moving in that direction,” he says. “Down the line, some way, some day, I would think we'll revisit this.”

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