Voters in Washington D.C., Oregon, and Alaska approved legalizing marijuana on Tuesday, opening doors that before now were only ajar in the West.
At the start of the year, Colorado became the first to allow adults to purchase pot for recreational use. Washington state followed a few months later.
As the nation was abuzz with that news, a New Jersey state senator proposed a bill to legalize the drug in this state, and another legislator introduced a plan to put the question on the ballot. But with the threat of a Chris Christie veto, neither bill got any traction.
They looked innocent enough, those chubby-faced suspects with boyish cowlicks.
But cops weren't taking chances. Police corralled them behind yellow tape as the wind whipped. Investigators arrived at the scene, just outside a tiny Burlington County church topped with a witch's hat and flanked by a graveyard with wobbly stones.
The suspects' faces flushed, turning orange. These celebrities weren't used to such treatment.
At an exclusive Mount Laurel golf club where a tense political debate was unfolding, the moderator suddenly stiffened and began barking out orders.
But the relentless mudslinging between Congressional candidates Aimee Belgard and Tom MacArthur during a forum last week at the Laurel Creek Country Club was not the cause of the moderator's ire.
It was a single heckler at the back of the room.
A playful gust of wind kicked up during the suspenseful unveiling of a three-story Marilyn last week in New Jersey, as if it could compete with the breeze that famously lifted the “blonde bombshell’s” skirt in "The Seven Year Itch."
“Forever Marilyn,” created by renowned New Jersey sculptor Seward Johnson, will tower over the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton Township until Sept. 21. Also on display are other Johnson works, including a 25-foot-tall interpretation of a snapshot that captured a sailor in Times Square passionately kissing a nurse as World War II officially ended.
But the big draw is Marilyn, a painted 17-ton figure that was forged of steel and aluminum in New Jersey four years ago for display in the hip downtown of Palm Springs. She recently returned to the East Coast on flatbed trucks in awkward pieces – a head and torso, a piece of her wavy skirt, legs – as crowds gathered along the highways to gawk.
Though a judge recently ruled that much of Delanco's Dunes belongs to the state of New Jersey - and not the township - the town's recreation commission is holding its third annual nature celebration on Saturday, May 3.
"Our solicitor told us to proceed as usual," said Township Committeewoman Marlene Jass, adding that the town is appealing last month's court decision.
State Superior Court Judge Karen L. Suter upheld the "riparian rights" of the state to claim lands that are submerged by tidal waters or that were underwater in the past, and based her decision on a 1946 aerial map of the Dunes. The 35-acre area sits on the banks of the Delaware River. Riparian claims can date back to the '40s.
The Castle Coalition, a non-profit that fights eminent domain abuse nationwide, is turning its attention to Mount Holly - again.
In recent years, the coalition lobbied for 27 property owners whose homes were being bulldozed by the township so that a new housing development could be built. The mostly poor Latinos and African Americans who lived in the Mt. Holly Gardens sued for discrimination and the coalition filed a brief supporting their position. That case settled last year as it headed for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now, a mixed zone with businesses and homes is about to be designated as another redevelopment area that would be subject to condemnation.
A new poll says New Jerseyans would rather legalize pot, following Colorado's lead, than allow online gambling, a vice that is now legal in the state.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey revealed 41 percent would support the recreational use of marijuana if it became legal. But only 32 percent of those surveyed were okay with the practice of gambling over the Internet.
In November, New Jersey began allowing online gambling. More than 150,000 gambling accounts have been established, according to AP.
As the debate over the legalization of marijuana gathers steam, newly-invigorated pro and anti-weed groups are erecting catchy billboards outside the MetLife Stadium as the Big Game nears.
The Marijuana Policy Project is launching two billboards Thursday night near the stadium to tackle a billboard put up on Wednesday by Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group that wants marijuana to remain illegal.
The competing billboards play with images of footballs, the brain, weed and alcohol to score points on the eve of the Superbowl.