(HOBOKEN, N.J.—APRIL 1, 2015) Hoboken is constantly falling back on its Dutch heritage—our first settlers were Dutch, and of course the Holland-America cruise lines used Hoboken as a port of call. More recently, Dutch engineers have weighed in on Hoboken’s flooding programs to develop our Rebuild by Design initiative. Meanwhile we have adopted more of a Dutch-inspired bicycle culture here in town, as Mayor Zimmer’s trips to the Netherlands have shown her just how much more advanced life in Holland can be.
In an effort to be even more like the Dutch, Hoboken is now considering the legalization of marijuana.
“As we aspire to be more like Amsterdam,” says Mayor Zimmer, “comprehensive marijuana reform here in Hoboken seems to be the obvious logical next step.”
The State of New Jersey has already passed the Compassionate Use Act, so the legal precedent currently exists. Hoboken is merely taking the initiative to position itself as the first fully legal marijuana municipality in the state.
“We want Hoboken to remain a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Mayor Zimmer. “Our goal is to put the city in a place where it can capitalize on an ongoing nationwide trend that has already demonstrated the effectiveness of taking a more proactive approach to marijuana as a recreational substance. As a result, ideally we’ll see a curb in alcohol-related crimes, which remain a significant problem here in town.” Zimmer adds, “There is no local tax on alcohol sales, so by legalizing and regulating marijuana sales here in Hoboken, we would create a new and viable revenue stream for the City.”
Of course adopting the Amsterdam approach can be slightly complicated.
“Yeah, it’s legal, but it ain’t a hundred percent legal,” says Dr. Vincent Vega, of the Marcellus Wallace Institute for Marijuana Studies. “I mean, you can’t walk into a restaurant, roll a joint, and start puffin’ away. They want you to smoke in your home or certain designated places.”
Vega breaks it down even further, adding, “It’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it, and if you’re the proprietor of a hash bar, it’s legal to sell it. It’s illegal to carry it, but that doesn’t really matter ’cause—get a load of this, all right—if you get stopped by the cops in Amsterdam, it’s illegal for them to search you. I mean, that’s a right the cops in Amsterdam don’t have.”
Legal complications aside, Hoboken looks to move quickly on this initiative, with the first Medicinal Marijuana Wellness Center scheduled to open on April 20 under the expert stewardship of Dr. Dina, who currently practices on the West Coast. The center’s location is yet to be determined, but it will likely be in the vicinity of the Hoboken Smoke Shop (614 Washington Street).
“Flood mitigation, bicycles, wooden shoes—the Dutch have all the cool stuff,” says Hoboken spokesman Juan Melli. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be right there with them, and legalized marijuana just makes sense for Hoboken.”
“Who knows?” says Melli, pausing to open yet another bag of Munchos. “By this time next year, we might even adopt the metric system here in town, man. That’s just how progressive we are.”