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Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Gottheimer opposes recreational pot

Congressman votes to advance marijuana banking bill

By Nikita Biryukov, March 28 2019 3:36 pm

Breaking his long silence on the issue, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) said Thursday that he opposes marijuana legalization.

The congressman on Thursday voted in committee to advance a bill that would bar federal regulators from penalizing banks that serve the cannabis industry.

“Given law enforcement’s strong safety concerns, I remain opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana,” Gottheimer said. “That said, I’m also against an underground cash economy that will encourage the proliferation of gangs and violent crime, which is why I supported the bill.”

The SAFE Banking act (H.R. 1595) passed 45-15. A floor vote for the bill has yet to be scheduled.

Gottheimer is the only New Jersey congressperson with a seat on the House Financial Services Committee.

The two-term congressman’s district leans to the right, and Gottheimer has, through his role as co-chair of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, positioned himself as a moderate.

Three fellow members of New Jersey’s House delegation — Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Albio Sires (D-West New York) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) — signed onto the bill as co-sponsors.

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