Home Government Will Brick Welcome Weed? Zoning May Prove Controversial

Will Brick Welcome Weed? Zoning May Prove Controversial

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A prank sign advertising a medical marijuana dispensary on Herbertsville Road. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A prank sign advertising a medical marijuana dispensary on Herbertsville Road. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Last month, a group of pranksters placed a sign outside the closed Herbertsville Deli site, promising a marijuana dispensary would soon open. But next time around, it may not be a joke at all. Brick officials will soon have to debate what their counterparts in Colorado have been struggling with since marijuana was legalized there in 2014: where weed can be purchased.

With Governor-elect Phil Murphy having made the legalization of recreational marijuana a top priority in his campaign, the question as to whether pot will be legal in New Jersey is largely answered. The legislature has already passed legalization measures, which were blocked by Gov. Chris Christie. Murphy, however, has said he would sign a bill to legalize the recreational sale and use of cannabis. The debate, as it did in Colorado, will almost certainly shift to zoning – a usually mundane area of local governance that will play a key role in determining how the local pot industry develops.

“We haven’t tackled that issue at all, yet,” said Mayor John Ducey, who was re-elected to a second term as mayor Tuesday. “We have plenty of issues in the forefront, so we’ll see what happens if and when a law is passed.”

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Colorado’s zoning policies have generated controversy there. In Denver, specifically, there are regulations that prohibit dispensaries from being operated in mixed-use or residential areas, the Denver Post reported. Specifically, they are allowed to operate in commercial and industrial zones.

A University of Colorado study found that cities have, indeed, formulated regulations closely restricting where dispensaries can operate. In the university’s report, researchers focused on how the businesses are often pushed into minority neighborhoods – a largely moot point in a town like Brick, where 93 percent of residents are white – but also focused on local control of the pot business.

“Though technically medical marijuana dispensaries provide a healthcare service, they have historically been required to adopt the same zoning restrictions as businesses that sell alcohol, pornography, and firearms,” said Jeremy Németh, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Planning and Design. “Generally, stores that sell these types of ‘vices’ are prohibited from locating in residential or mixed-use neighborhoods and are pushed into much less affluent neighborhoods.”

So-called “proximity buffers” were worked into Colorado’s law, allowing towns to restrict the sale of marijuana near parks, beaches and schools – similar to the regulations included in New Jersey’s own medical marijuana law.

In some cases, residents whose homes are located near commercial or industrial zones have complained about the smell of marijuana as well as an uptick in traffic in their neighborhoods.

Experts have said New Jersey could generate about $300 million per year in revenue by legalizing recreational marijuana sales, and end up cutting the cost of enforcement that is often borne by local police departments and municipal courts.

In 2016, Brick police charged 143 adults and 23 juveniles with marijuana possession – not including those who were charged with selling the drug – and through Sept. 30 of this year, 162 adults and 22 juveniles have been received summonses for possessing under 50 grams of cannabis.

The average charge rate for marijuana offenses as a whole in Ocean County was 208 per 100,000 residents in 2014, according to a study released earlier this year by the American Civil Liberties Union. In Brick, the rate was 202 per 100,000. Seaside Park had the highest charge rate in New Jersey, at more than 5,000 per 100,000 equivalent residents.

Brick zoning officials who spoke with Shorebeat said if a legalization law is passed, it will likely include zoning guidelines for municipalities, and towns can piggyback on each other to develop best practices.

Brick, in particular, has had a history of regulating controversial businesses. It was one of the first towns in the state to place an outright ban on puppy sales, effectively ending the business model of the one remaining business of its kind in the township. But there is even more history when it comes to the business of vice.

In 1992, Shay Varone filed plans to open the Pleasure Zone adult bookstore on Chambers Bridge Road, and immediate drew ire from residents and officials. Brick quickly adopted an ordinance that banned adult bookstores within 1,500 feet of schools, homes and churches. Judge William Huber ruled in favor of allowing the business to remain.

Eventually, another controversial business may look to open in Brick.

“As medical marijuana has become legal in 23 states and D.C., municipalities must determine where these businesses will be allowed to operate,” said Németh. “I encourage my students, and city planners, to think about the impacts zoning regulations have on the entire community, not just adopt regulations that have been in place for other vices.”


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  • craigoftruth

    Where ever a liquor store can open so should a marijuana stores be allowed to open. This is very simple and sad truth that only the paranoid and the uninformed will be able to make these zoning decisions. Most likely 43% of the entire adult population in Brick has or are smoking pot today. If the police in Brick were able to raid every home in Brick and search for marijuana they would find for every 100 homes searched, 13 of them would have marijuana. These are all facts born out by studies and poles across the United States.

    • Andy Pat

      borne not born; polls not poles

      • Glenn

        Guess Craig was stoned three hours ago.

      • craigoftruth

        True!

      • Andy Pat

        No excuse. I was high when I caught the error!

      • craigoftruth

        Hey Andy Pat, we love you man, my wife and I always put up comments purposely misspelling words and you are the first to notice!!! Witch which is which.

      • Andy Pat

        i unnerstan. I will purposely add ain’t, double negatives, maybe a curse word or two, and other colloquial expressions dependent upon who I am conversing with orally. l tend to play it safer in writing, but here too I occasionally play with my words.

      • KaayC

        Falls!

      • Brian Kelly

        Guess you are are drunk now and just noticing his comment then, right?

        Understand yet just how dumb such accusations are towards complete strangers you’ve never even met before and know absolutely nothing about personally?

        Name calling and stereotyping. It’s all that prohibitionists have left to offer society since virtually every piece of marijuana propaganda out there has been thoroughly debunked, and completely dismissed by a smarter than prohibitionists thought public.

        Nobody can provide a real reason to continue the “War on Marijuana” because there isn’t one.

        You know, a little live and let live goes a real long way towards ensuring a very long, stress and anger free life.

        If somebody doesn’t approve of marijuana, then by all means, that person shouldn’t consume marijuana. Nobody is ever going to force anybody to consume marijuana that doesn’t desire to. Plain and simple. Problem solved.

        Let’s allow other hard-working, tax paying adults to make their own choices about marijuana.

        The government has no business attempting to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply doesn’t work and has already cost the taxpayers a fortune.

      • Glenn

        Don’t want to mention any names, but it appears to me that someone got out of bed today on the wrong side.
        My comment was meant in a joking way and by replies of both craigoftruth and Andy Pat, both understood that. And your comment speaks volumes about you.

      • Brian Kelly

        You and CraigofTriuth are also projecting typical negative stereotypes of marijuana consumers. Joking or not, I feel the need to interject and dispel those negative stereotypes.

      • Albert Westpy

        This is the reason we have a “war on Pot”
        https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=N02

    • KaayC

      Most likely 47.5 percent of Brick’s population need the services of an otolaryngologist.

      • 205167117

        What’s funny about an ear, nose and throat doctor? If you’re trying to say they have something wrong with their head you probably mean a Neurosurgeon but I guess that word isn’t as confusing as Otolaryngologist.

      • KaayC

        Not an attempt at humor. Just shows anyone can pull a bogus stat out of their ass as Craigoftruth does. Do you really expect to be taken seriously with no name just a number like a convicted felon? Rhetorical query. No reply desired.

      • craigoftruth

        Actual statistics!! Read and you just might learn something!!!

      • 205167117

        I get the feeling you’re used to not getting what you desire. The number is so I can have discussions without stereotype.

      • KaayC

        Au contraire. I am accostomed to mostly getting what I want.

      • 205167117

        If it means anything the numbers are three street addresses I’ve lived at in Brick. Really I decided to use the numbers so that things like sex, race, religion or political belief wouldn’t play into having a discussion. You might not be able to see who I am but keep in mind my comment history is public so if someone actually cares about seeing my other views they can. I do that in hopes of others seeing some things in common when we aren’t seeing eye to eye on the topic at hand.

  • Andy Pat

    Decriminalize, Legalize, but do not over-Commercialize! Do not make the same mistakes our society has made with tobacco and alcohol. And to some degree with pharmaceuticals. All these substances should be available but we do not need to push them.

    • Cayde

      Finally someone with a brain! I agree with this 100%

    • KaayC

      Yes. Also it occurs to me what these Brick drivers will be like half stoned.

      • 205167117

        From the American Journal of Public Health in the Washington Post…

        “The authors of that study analyzed federal data on fatal car crashes from 2009 to 2015. “We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates in the first 3 years after recreational marijuana legalization,” they concluded.”

        You’ll see statistics showing a 3% increase in the states that have already legalized it but that number is nothing compared to the increase in population and vehicles on the road due to the boom in commerce and travel in those regions.

  • Brian Kelly

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    Legalize Nationwide!

    • Frank Rizzo

      Please do not tell me that people will pay a tax on this stuff….all you want is not to be arrested for this…There will be a black market no matter what,,,,,Colorado is a mess for this reason of legal pot…

      • Brian Kelly

        Nobody is claiming that the black market will be completely eliminated immediately upon the legalization of marijuana. That would be ridiculous to expect.

        In regards to “Colorado is a mess for this reason of legal pot…”
        That’s utter non-sense and a lie. Please provide us credible, impartial, unbiased sources of proof to back that up, okay? That means no government, law enforcement nor anti-drug organizational sources.
        We’ll wait for your sources of proof…
        *yawns*

        In the meantime, consider this:

        “Colorado’s legal marijuana business boomed last year, with total sales in the state nearing the $1 billion mark, according to current estimates.

        Official figures for marijuana sales in December won’t be available until next month, but Ricardo Baca, a staff writer for The Denver Post’s The Cannabist, reported on Jan. 13 that total marijuana sales, including for both recreational and medicinal purposes, had reached $895 million by November.

        With cannabis taxed in three ways by the state, including two different kinds of sales tax, Colorado had earned $121 million through that month. That figure represents an especially important windfall for education, Baca noted:

        “Perhaps the most-watched figure in the state’s marijuana tax data is the 15 percent excise tax, which is earmarked for school construction projects. In November that tax brought in more than $3 million, up from $2.6 million in October. So far in 2015, those school-bound tax revenues have topped $31.4 million — besting that tax’s 2014 totals of $13.3 million.”

        In September, The Guardian reported that tax revenues were expected to reach $125 million, a figure almost double the $44 million earned in 2014. That means taxes on legal marijuana are more profitable for Colorado than taxes on alcohol sales, according to Time magazine:

        “Colorado collected almost $70 million in marijuana taxes during [the fiscal year that ended in June], nearly double the $42 million collected from alcohol taxes.”

        By comparison, legal marijuana sales reached just $700 million in 2014. Given the intense growth, some sources had forecast a total of $1 billion in marijuana sales for 2015. However, Baca estimated last week that the final figures might fall a bit short, thanks in part to a small downturn during October:

        “While we expect an upturn in cannabis sales from November to December 2015 — perhaps somewhat mirroring the month-to-month increase we witnessed in December 2014, when medical pot sales jumped 15 percent and recreational marijuana sales skipped up 12 percent — we don’t expect the 30 percent month-over-month spike that would be required for the 2015 totals to top $1 billion.”

        Johnny Green, a writer for The Weed Blog, speculated on Jan. 14 that growth in the Centennial State may slow as other states move to legalize cannabis:

        “It will be interesting to see how Colorado’s industry numbers are once Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry is fully up and running, which is expected to be by the end of 2016. October sales in Colorado took a dip, which is also when limited recreational sales started in Oregon.”

        Green emphasized the importance of cannabis sales for Colorado’s economy, whatever the final total:

        “December would have to have a significant uptick in sales in order to cross the one billion dollar mark, but even if that doesn’t happen, Colorado’s marijuana industry had a stellar year. Can you name one state in the country that couldn’t use a billion dollar industry that largely came out of nowhere?””

        http://www.mintpressnews.com/tax-revenue-expected-to-reach-125-million-as-2015-colorado-cannabis-sales-near-1b/213081/

      • 205167117

        Kendall-Jackson’s investment in lobbying matches their quality of wine lol. Interesting information. I feel like the average person out there doesn’t quite follow how lobbying works and how terrible it is.

      • 205167117

        So refreshing to see a fact based side.

      • 205167117

        Colorado is booming and thriving ever since legalization. Land value is way up, unemployment is way down and businesses outside the marijuana industry are seeing an increase from those traveling there.

        I will say their ability to grow is a positive that from what I understand we won’t be able to take advantage of here.

      • KaayC

        Agree.

      • 205167117

        I know you’re trying to minimize finger movement. That was six wasted key strokes saved by a ^. Also you’d need to throw an I in front of agree for the period to work.

      • KaayC

        Disagree.

      • 205167117

        You win the backstage pass to the Louis C.K. show, congrats

    • KaayC

      Spoken like a pothead.

      • Brian Kelly

        Name calling and stereotyping. It’s all that prohibitionists have left to offer society since virtually every piece of marijuana propaganda out there has been thoroughly debunked, and completely dismissed by a smarter than prohibitionists thought public.

        Nobody can provide a real reason to continue the “War on Marijuana” because there isn’t one.

        You know, a little live and let live goes a real long way towards ensuring a very long, stress and anger free life.

        If somebody doesn’t approve of marijuana, then by all means, that person shouldn’t consume marijuana. Nobody is ever going to force anybody to consume marijuana that doesn’t desire to. Plain and simple. Problem solved.

        Let’s allow other hard-working, tax paying adults to make their own choices about marijuana.

        The government has no business attempting to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply doesn’t work and has already cost the taxpayers a fortune.

      • KaayC

        So has smoking.

      • 205167117

        Do you expect to be taken seriously with three words that can’t even be put in context to the replied post?

      • KaayC

        !!

      • 205167117

        Thank you for confirming that you don’t read but just respond. Anyone with any sense can see his post is the furthest from a stereotypical “pothead”.

        When someone takes the time to articulate their thoughts and beliefs to that extent, it’s the most immature and unintelligent move you can make by dismissing it with four words.

        Try to operate today in a way that doesn’t suggest you only understand what’s in your own head. At the very least when your brain can’t keep up with what you read then try to just move on because replying like you did is like raising a banner in front of your name that says “I have no business interacting with others and rarely understand the topic at hand”.

      • KaayC

        Read it, considered it, and do not mean to sound dismissive. Kelly talks like he smokes the ish. Long considered the consequences to society with smokers of any ilk. It is a bad habit. Bad habits are to be dropped, not encouraged. Decriminalised perhaps, but legalised to the extent of making out like it is soda pop? – no way Jose. I prefer people to have clarity of thought not drug induced mental masturbations.

      • 205167117

        Then consider stereotyping and name calling a bad habit. Clean your own house before you vacuum his.

      • KaayC

        Ditto.

      • 205167117

        Try growing up and then maybe your friends and family won’t ignore you. You’re obviously starving for attention if at 4am on a Tuesday your priority is a one word reply on an article from four days ago.

        You must really be killing it in life.

      • KaayC

        Just insomniac.

    • Andy Pat

      First time I have heard a 14th Amendment argument for this cause. I agree with your ends but do not think the 14th is the means.

  • Frank Rizzo

    All designed to ruin the white middle class and send your kids into the abyss of lower class poor people, High School graduations will plummet..schools systems will not be rated as highly…car accidents will increase,,,,work accidents will increase…less people will qualify for jobs with this in their systems….good luck,,,Colorado is a mess because of it…..

    • Mac

      So Frank, are you truly that worried about pot getting more attention for destroying the middle class than you? Don’t fret. Call on your Ocean County Freeholders to address your concerns. Vicari , for one, is always available to address anyone’s problems with a simple stroke of his hands.

      It seems to be a talent all Toms River mayors become exceptionally talented at while in elected office. And you’re worried about pot undermining society. So sad.

    • Cayde

      I smoke almost every day and I hold a perfectly normal career. Never flunked out of school or college either. Its just like alcohol, be responsible when using and you’ll be fine. I’m sure you enjoy an alcoholic beverage every now and then. Has that alcohol use sent you to the abyss of lower class poor people? Probably not, but there are people out there with alcohol problems who have ruined their lives.

      Smoking marijuana isn’t an absolute sentence to a life of misery and misfortune. If you think that it is… You sir, need to spark up sometime and chill out.

      • KaayC

        Come back n talk to us if, God forbid you get lung cancer. Don’t wish it on you but Sorry… buried too many smokers to consider this shite.

    • Brian Kelly

      Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

      The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more detriment to our society than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more detriment to our society than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier lives, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

    • Jayme Lin Rose

      I agree completely. We have enough problems with opioids in Ocean County. I don’t give a crap if people claim it doesn’t harm any one. Pot is a gateway drug to more potent and lethal pharmaceutical use. God help us all.

      • 205167117

        You forgot to open the second to last sentence in your post with “In my opinion”. Feel free prove your claim with reference if you want your current sentence structure to be correct and responsible.

      • Mac

        You sound as though you just left another ‘misleading, for 15-second headlines’ pep talk rally of Ocean County Prosecutor Coronato. Pot is more apt to be a gateway ‘drug’ leading to ‘less’ need and use of more potent and lethal pharmaceutical uses, so God is already helping us.

        P.S. When asking God for help, a picture without horns on top of each side of the head would be more helpful for the cause.

      • Brian Kelly

        The “Gateway Myth” has been proven false over and over again. Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

        If prohibitionists really want to protect people from a drug proven to destroy lives and families, then they should be up in arms, protesting the legality of booze. Alcohol is the drug that causes the most traffic fatalities and domestic violence by a huge landslide.

        More so than all other drugs, combined.

        Why doesn’t that concern prohibitionists even more? It should…

        “Marijuana Is Gateway Drug” Theory Debunked, Again
        http://www.opposingviews.com/i/marijuana-is-gateway-drug-theory-debunked-again

        Marijuana a “Gateway” Drug? Scientists Call Theory Half-Baked
        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-a-gateway-drug-scientists-call-theory-half-baked/

        Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die
        http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/29/marijuna-as-a-gateway-drug-the-myth-that-will-not-die/#ixzz2s5nDwiDS

        Seven Studies That Debunk the Gateway Myth
        http://inorml.com/blog/2012/11/25/seven-studies-that-debunk-the-gateway-myth/

      • Andy Pat

        Not only is the “gateway theory” bull, cannabis and its extracts may be useful in providing a “gateway” Out of addiction including opiate addiction. Stay tuned!

    • 205167117

      You sound like a bad PSA from the 1950s. What’s your view on alcohol?

      • Mac

        My thoughts on Frank’s posts throughout the years: Bottoms up, 24/7.

      • 205167117

        When I see his name it’s hard for me not to read the comment in the voice of Frank Rizzo from the Jerky Boys lol

      • KaayC

        At least he has a name not a number.

      • 205167117

        You have five meaningless letters? You act like you’re linked to a network. The only difference between my name and yours are letters to numbers.

    • Andy Pat

      All designed to ruin the white middle class and send your kids into the abyss of lower class poor people?? Who is behind this design targeting White people??
      Cite some statistics for “Colorado is a mess”

      • KaayC

        Most likely 47.5 percent of Colorado’s population need the services of an otolaryngologist.

  • Surfrider

    Legalizing weed is a slippery slope. If it is legalized, it should be ok to grow plants in your yard, maybe like Colorado where i believe they allow 3 plants per adult on a property. Why doesn’t NJ do that as well? Because the state is the real “Godfather” of NJ….the state political machine, most corrupt in the country! They say you cannot grow bamboo either in this town! Its too invasive? I hope this law helps the “weedman” who is being railroaded right now in jail by the law…….Alcohol and weed have all the same issues………..DUI…..etc.

  • mallisa gail

    my moma was diagnosed with lewy body demntia, she lived in a memory care facility for 3 months which availed to nothing. this got me scared of loosing her and my siblings. i never believed in prayer until she got prayed for by diviner peterson of newgrace foundation. she’s doing fine now in less than a week of prayer and usage of holy items.i’d urge anyone suffering from such or any diseasse to contact him via email:newgraacefoundation@gmail.com

    • 205167117

      I’ll send an email as soon as I run to Wal-Mart and pick up $1200 in gift cards to pay my tax bill to this guy on the phone that claims to be from the IRS.

      If you’re going to post spam then keep your story straight or previous posts private. Looks like you sent your brother to Diviner Peterson too for some drug use. That good old Diviner is a real jack of all trades.

      • KaayC

        Lol

      • 205167117

        I apologize for getting nasty with you on the other posts. I should have used my better judgement. I took it personally when you seemed to dismiss any consideration for the topic from the beginning. Sincerely I’m sorry about anything I said that offended you.

      • KaayC

        I don’t offend easily. No worries.

  • bayboat65 .

    Put it in Lakewood Industrial Park

    • Andy Pat

      Next to brewery please!

      • KaayC

        And an Uber on call.

  • Sandra Eisenman

    THERE ARE QUITE A FEW SENIORS IN THE AREA WHO COULD BENEFIT FROM THE USE OF MARIJUANA TO RELIEVE PAIN. GREAT IDEA TO PUT A DISPENSARY IN BRICK

  • Mac

    Many of Reagan’s policies that we embraced at the time are responsible for the current status of the middle class today.

    • KaayC

      Agree!

  • Mark Story Jenks

    I didn’t vote for Murphy or whatever his name is, and I am very much against his “sanctuary state” idea.
    But a lot of people smoke pot. Maybe legalizing it and taxing it would be a good source of revenue, especially if it could help keep taxes from going up elsewise.
    It’s just a matter of time before my brother and I are forced to sell and move far away from New Jersey, because of property taxes. And I’ll dare to say that the huge chunk of our property taxes that go to the schools bothers me, since I have no children. And Brick High school didn’t teach me anything, it was a complete waste of time. I’m sure there were some good teachers, but the ones I had were mostly a bunch of egotistical pricks, who were just putting in their eight hours or so.

  • KaayC

    Reagan is when a lot of the trouble began, right?