Urges citizen participation

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As the NJ recreational marijuana law did not have the support to pass, Gov. Murphy is retooling and trying to tie it to badly needed medical marijuana reform that could improve accessibility for the ill. Why, when it is obvious that the majority of voters in NJ are against legalization, does the governor and legislature keep forcing the issue by holding truly needy patients hostage until he gets what he thinks is good for NJ?

These are reasons the governor claims legal marijuana will benefit NJ:

• Improve the economy with new business and taxes

• Reduce the racial disparity in incarceration rates

• Use the new monies for “worthy causes”

• Fight opioid use

Even ignoring the social ills that more marijuana use brings, there are other arguments against legalization. Los Angeles found that marijuana taxes did not bring in the money expected because people bought cheaper on the black market. Legalization caused more crime and more bureaucracy, thus erasing any profits.

For the problem of racially disparate incarceration, there are many more positive ways to help: reduced sentences and serious intervention in the prison system to provide job training, education, and mentoring to those in jail.

New studies and statistics show marijuana use is tied to psychosis, depression, and schizophrenia, not to mention a sluggishness and reduction of inhibitions; so using it to fight opioid use is not the harmless solution it is purported to be.

Ending Gov. Murphy’s press announcement, Dem. NJ Senate President Sweeney, after lamenting not legalizing marijuana, expressed elation at getting his “Death with Dignity” law passed that allows assisted suicide. This is another legislation that fails to look at unintended consequences in a misguided attempt at charity.

I urge all NJ citizens to stay engaged in local and state decisions and let your representatives know your thoughts and ideas.

Luann Byrne

Byram, NJ

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