Eighteen months after introducing a bill that would legalize the use of recreational marijuana in New Jersey, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari will preside over a hearing Monday that will grant only supporters to testify.

“I am going to start positive, then open up the floor to the people are against it,” stated Scutari.

Opponents will get their chance at a future hearing, he stated.

With a governor who strongly opposes legalizing recreational marijuana use, there is a great deal of time to give everybody who wants to share their words an opportunity to do so, he stated.

He admits he thinks opponents offer “Shallow arguments” to make their case.

“A journey of a thousand steps starts with the first,” stated Scutari, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the hearing.

As both a governor and a candidate for president, Christie has called marijuana a “gateway” drug that is harmful to children. He has stated that if elected president, he would challenge the states that legalized the use of recreational marijuana.

Under the bill, local elected officials could impose an ordinance prohibiting a marijuana shop or any marijuana-related business from opening, and dictate how many would be allowed, hours of operation and licensing fees and regulations.

Sales tax and application fee revenue would be dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund, drug enforcement and prevention efforts, and women’s health programs, which Christie has cut since taking office in 2010.

No action will be taken on Scutari’s bill, Monday.

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