New Jersey: Libertarian Senate Candidate Smokes Marijuana In Park
By Steve Elliott
As photographers snapped pictures, New Jersey Senate candidate Don DeZarn took a deep toke of marijuana smoke. His wife, capturing the scene on a cellphone, asked him who it was for.
"Who is this for?" repeated DeZarn, exhaling smoke, reports Mike Davis of The Times of Trenton. "This is for all my brothers and sisters who are currently being held prisoners of war by our government as a result of the War On Drugs."
DeZarn, 46, running on the Libertarian ticket, called it a public statement for marijuana legalization; no police were on hand to arrest him. Legalizing, regulating and taxing cannabis is one of the chief planks of his campaign platform for the state senate; he also calls for cutting property taxes and increasing government transparency.
The fact that our state freely regulates, sells and taxes alcohol -- while prosecuting people who use marijuana in the privacy of their own home -- is insanity to me," DeZarn said. "It's completely insanity that we spend that type of money when there's far worse things out there."
DeZarn said marijuana should be regulated similarly to alcohol, in order to add tax money to the state's coffers while saving on the costs of arresting and charging pot smokers.
"It wouldn't be a free-for-all," DeZarn said. "You should be held to the same standards as anyone under the influence of alcohol or any other drug."
"Once our Legislature sees the type of money being brought into the revenue streams, their morals are going to go out the window," DeZarn said. "They will see that source of money and they're going to be all over it."
DeZarn admitted his campaign might be a long shot, but said he's answering the call of residents who are dissatisfied with the Democratic and Republican candidates.
"The best I can do is be the loudest voice possible," DeZarn said.
"One of the big things that will help with the legalization effort is just people coming out of the closet," he said. "Most of the public has the image of the pothead who sits on the couch all day smoking, watching TV and eating Cheetos.
"We need to show people that it's all right to say, 'I smoke marijuana,' " DeZarn said.
(Photo of Don DeZarn by Martin Griff/The Times of Trenton)