A recent poll reveals that while many New Jersey residents have noticed the unmistakable scent of marijuana since its legalization, a significant majority aren’t perturbed by it. Interestingly, the perceived risks of driving under marijuana’s influence versus alcohol vary considerably among respondents.

The survey, executed by Stockton University’s Hughes Center for Public Policy, showcased that approximately 50% of adults in New Jersey have detected the aroma of marijuana emanating from nearby homes or apartments. However, 31% expressed that the freedom to use legal marijuana within their homes should be prioritized over the 16% who preferred not to catch a whiff of their neighbor’s usage. It’s noteworthy that 46% of participants found both rights equally crucial.

The frequency of this olfactory experience varies. Around 14% reported frequent encounters with the smell, 15% felt occasional, and 21% deemed it a rarity. Contrarily, 49% claimed never to have detected it.

The poll also delved into public places, revealing that 57% of New Jersey adults have often (28%) or sometimes (29%) smelled cannabis. Only 9% asserted they’ve never encountered the scent in public areas.

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John Froonjian, at the helm of the Hughes Center, commented, “Post-legalization, New Jersey’s public landscape has unexpectedly been marked by the smell of marijuana. This can be attributed to limited legal consumption spaces, leading people to use it in parks, streets, and festivals.”

Of those surveyed, a whopping 90% confidently identified marijuana’s aroma. Furthermore, 52% didn’t find it bothersome, while 19% and 28% found it highly or somewhat irritating.

A significant revelation was the differentiation in responses based on past-year cannabis consumption. Among users, 55% believed their right to consume superseded the freedom of others not to smell it, a sentiment shared by only 21% of non-users. However, 75% of consumers and 91% of non-consumers unanimously agreed that driving under the influence is hazardous. 52% of consumers and 81% of non-consumers endorsed the necessity for a roadside test to measure impairment.

Interestingly, political inclinations played a role: 62% of Republicans deemed a roadside test vital, compared to 42% of Democrats and 45% of independents. Additionally, 39% claimed to know someone who drove post-consumption, and 51% considered it extremely risky. In contrast, drunk driving’s dangers were acknowledged by an overwhelming 90%.

Emphasizing the hazards of driving under the influence, Froonjian stated, “Regardless of the substance, driving impaired is inadvisable and dangerous.”

Simultaneously, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission launched a campaign promoting cannabis delivery services to curtail impaired driving risks.

Commissioner Krista Nash emphasized the commitment to the well-being of all New Jersey residents. With this in view, the state has initiated applications for delivery service licenses and has allotted funds to encourage business growth in the cannabis sector. The particular focus is on aiding communities previously affected by stringent cannabis regulations. Recent state measures also include a $5.5 million allocation from marijuana revenue for a hospital-based violence intervention grants program.