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Advocates Show Mixed Feelings About Christie Action on Medical Marijuana Bill

NEW JERSEY: One of the state’s leading advocates for medical marijuana had mixed feelings Friday about Gov. Chris Christie’s handling of the bill that will permit minors access to the drug to treat severe conditions. [Read more…]

A New Day In The Garden State

By Stu Zakim

Today, long suffering New Jersey residents got a breath of fresh air when new Governor Phil Murphy presented his first budget for fiscal 2019 to the members of the NJ Senate and Assembly in Trenton.

After years of Chris Christie and his archaic views of Cannabis, both as Governor and State Attorney General, we now have a Governor who understands how legalizing adult use Cannabis can bring enormous benefits to the Garden State in many areas.

Among the highlights

“I advocate for legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana sales to adults.”  Murphy wants New Jersey to “join other progressive states such as California, Massachusetts, Washington, and Colorado by legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana.”

“According to research, New Jersey spends upwards of $140 million per year adjudicating low-level marijuana possession offenses. And, marijuana-related arrest rates are tilted three-to-one against African-Americans, even though rates of marijuana use are similar among races. These resources must have a better use, whether to tackle the trafficking of illegal guns, provide stronger community policing, or to crack the back of our opioid epidemic, which was devastating our urban centers long before it made headlines.”

“Legalization will allow us to reinvest directly in our communities – especially the urban neighborhoods hardest hit by the misguided War on Drugs – in their economic development, in health care and housing, child care and after-school programs, and other critical areas. These investments will pay dividends far greater than the cost of mass incarceration.”

The Governor plans to legalize adult-use marijuana by January 1, 2019 and projects $80 million in related revenue in the first fiscal year.  We can only hope.

NORML: Medical Marijuana Must Be Part Of Solution To Opioid Crisis

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: NORML ( National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) released the following statement regarding the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis first meeting this on June 16.

Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director said: “Tens of thousands of lives have been adversely impacted by the nation’s opioid epidemic. We must use every tool at our disposal to fight this crisis. Marijuana provides a safe and effective alternative for many of these patients and it is vital that the Committee does not ignore this important evidence in its discussions.”

“Given the make-up of the commission – which includes a number of longtime drug warriors such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and former Office of National Drug Policy Control staffer Bertha Madras, it is crucial that citizens, advocates, doctors, and researchers alike elevate the science and data which shows marijuana is an effective tool in combating the opioid crisis, not the rhetoric of the failed War on Drugs.”

“Permitting marijuana sales to be regulated by licensed, state-authorized distributors rather than the black market run by criminal entrepreneurs and pushers of various other illicit drugs including opioids would likely result in fewer, not more, Americans abusing other illicit substances.”

Armentano’s latest op-ed is “Can marijuana help mitigate America’s opioid crisis?” published today in The Hill.