Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy vowed to fight for the legalization of marijuana, despite opposition in his own party, the Democratic Party of New Jersey. New Jersey’s Black Caucus and many Democratic representative support decriminalization as a better alternative. Governor Murphy seems to be acting recklessly.
New Jersey’s new governor should know that Colorado has a $500 -700 million budget deficit this year, and that Colorado Governor Hickenlooper advised other governors not to legalize. All drugs become more available via legalization of marijuana.
Ties to Cannabis Industry and Lobby
However, the governor’s chief of staff, Peter Cammarano, founded the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association. Cammarano did not disclose who is on the trade group’s board, but one wonders how much its members donated to Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign.
If the industry donated to Murphy’s campaign, one can consider this money “blood money.” Legalization usually leads to more people using all drugs, and more DUI driving deaths. In the midst of an opioid crisis, this policy normalizes pot use rather than offering people an alternative of recovery, hope, and success.
SAM and RAMP oppose Legalization
Do you want a New Jersey with more or fewer people using drugs? Do you want a state with more impaired drivers on the road or fewer of them? In the midst of an opioid crisis, do you want to further drug normalization?
We all know who will pay for this policy – vulnerable communities (where do YOU think pot shops will end up?), our youth (what parent can honestly say that using pot is GOOD for their kids?), and Garden State taxpayers (today’s highly potent THC is linked to a host of problems, including mental illness). And we know drug dealers will thrive under legalization by evading taxes, undercutting the legal price, and selling to kids. If we have an age limit as the Governor proposes, who do we think will keep selling pot to a 12-year-old? Just ask Colorado, where a major newspaper just labeled the state “marijuana’s black market hub.”
“We won’t stand for it,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “I’m directing our New Jersey affiliate – NJ Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (NJ-RAMP) – to take every step possible to stop this reckless policy from becoming a reality. SAM Action is redirecting funds to make sure New Jersey kids won’t suffer.”
Sabet encourages his followers in New Jersey to volunteer against this cause. He suggested that they write their state legislator (click here and find who represents you) or send this video out on social media. There’s even an online toolkit with all the info you need.
Today, March 14, SAM released its report card on the five states that legalized marijuana. Readers should look it up.
Independent FDU polling shows most New Jersey residents don’t want legalization when given the option of decriminalization. Despite the best evidence and positions from major medical, education, and law enforcement groups, the governor stands firm.
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