Monday, August 4, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Legalizing pot leads online gambling

Marijuana plants grow under special lights inside the grow facility at Medicine Man marijuana dispensary in Denver, Friday Dec. 27, 2013.  (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Marijuana plants grow under special lights inside the grow facility at Medicine Man marijuana dispensary in Denver, Friday Dec. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
BURLCO BUZZ A new poll says New Jerseyans would rather legalize pot, following Colorado's lead, than allow online gambling, which is now legal in the state.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey revealed that 41 percent would support the recreational use of marijuana if it became legal. But only 32 percent of those surveyed were OK 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 the Associated Press.

"The public's attitude was, for several years, warming up to online gambling," said Krista Jenkins, a political science professor who directed the poll. "But there has been a clear change in direction now that the practice has actually been legalized." One year ago, 41 percent favored online gambling.

Fairleigh Dickenson's news release suggested heavy marketing by online gambling companies may have led to the bump in intolerance among those surveyed.

The poll was conducted by calling residents on their landline phones and cellphones during a six-day period last month. A total of 734 participated, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

As for medical marijuana, 86 percent of New Jersey residents favored it in a 2011 Rutgers-Eagleton poll. And, at the same time, 60 percent approved decriminalizing the drug, a 20 percent increase as compared with a 1972 poll.

A few weeks ago, State Sen. Nick Scutari, a sponsor of the state's medical marijuana law, said he would begin lobbying his colleagues to support a bill to legalize pot. He said he hoped to introduce it in the next few weeks.

yJan Hefler, www.inquirer.com/burlcobuzz

Rob Andrews looks back

BLINQ When Rob Andrews first went to Washington, he was so jazzed, he could barely sleep.

There's just so much I want to do, the freshly minted congressman from New Jersey told me.

That was in 1990. On Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert E. Andrews announced that he is leaving Congress after nearly 24 years. He's taking a top job at a Philadelphia law firm so he can earn more money for college for his two daughters.

Grayer than he was a quarter-century ago (aren't we all), Andrews, 56, told an SRO news conference at his Haddon Heights office that his seemingly abrupt decision had everything to do with his family - and nothing to do with continued public questions about his alleged misuse of campaign funds for personal expenses.

Andrews called the probe by the Ethics Committee in the GOP-controlled House politically motivated, said he had been "accused wrongfully," and added, "I have followed the rules and met the standards."

The proud son of blue-collar Bellmawr also said he's pleased that his office has been able to assist literally thousands of constituents. He cited his work on behalf of veterans and the city of Camden, as well as his relationships with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

But question after question from the mob of media at what may turn out to be Andrews' final presser as a congressman was about the ethics probe. And much of the mega-coverage later in the day headlined or made prominent references to it.

I doubt that sort of issue was what kept the freshman congressman awake at nights back in 1990, when he was 33 and ready to take on the world of Washington. And it is surely not what he hopes will be his legacy.

yKevin Riordan, www.inquirer.com/blinq

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