In late November 2018, New Jersey lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate voted to advance an adult-use bill, marking the first official legislative action on the issue since pro-legalization Gov. Phil Murphy assumed office in 2018. But since their 2016 takeover of the New Jersey legislature, Democrats have expanded qualifying conditions for medical cannabis treatments, licensed more dispensaries and centered criminal justice reform.
At the same time, opposition to the adult-use industry dug in, and a groundswell of anti-cannabis advocacy prompted a number of cities to opt out of any legal-weed future. Point Pleasant Beach mayor Stephen Reid has been at the heart of that movement. After making his city the first to ban the retail cannabis industry in late 2017, Reid has traveled around the state advising other towns to join Point Pleasant’s policy of prohibition.
But since at least May 2018, Reid has been pushing prohibition on the payroll of the prominent anti-marijuana lobby group New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy. Now, that connection and its potential conflict of interest are the subject of a lawsuit filed against Point Pleasant Beach.
Mayor Reid isn’t just on NJ RAMP’s payroll. Since May 2018, he has been the group’s executive director. Blogger Patrick Duff revealed the connection after suing Point Pleasant Beach himself, to obtain records of Reid’s emails with the group. Reid has himself never been upfront about his connection with RAMP. In fact, he failed to properly register his lobbying activity on behalf of RAMP with the state until October, five months after taking the job.