Opinion: Should NJ Legalize Marijuana?

By Aaron Neuman. At midnight Wednesday, Canada legalized marijuana for recreational use, becoming the world’s first developed economy to decriminalize the usage of cannabis. There has been a recent push by advocates for marijuana legalization in the entire United States on the federal level; however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions doesn’t seem too keen about allowing it to occur under his watch. Nine states have already decriminalized the recreational use of the mind-altering drug, and New Jersey is one of several states with lawmakers attempting to ease restrictions on its use. NJ lawmakers tried and failed to decriminalize marijuana in June, and Governor Murphy has recently stated his continued intent to legalize marijuana use. Senate President Sweeney says a vote to decriminalize weed use will take place on October 29, but the bill hasn’t even been filed in the Legislature yet, which makes me skeptical whether the vote will actually take place on that date.

There are numerous arguments for and against the legalization of marijuana, and the issue is complex and multi-faceted. Let’s take a look at some of the arguments. You can form your own opinion based on the following points, and you can also leave a comment below.

Pros: Chronic Pain- A review conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine showed that chronic pain, affecting some 25 million Americans, could be greatly reduced with marijuana use or use of marijuana derivatives.

Better Policing: The law enforcement community is often tied up with cases like marijuana seizure when their resources could be more efficiently used and conserved for situations that are significantly more detrimental to society than a kid lighting up. The courts and jails are also filled to the rafters with nonviolent offenders getting booked for what many consider to be a harmless activity.

Reduced Drug Addiction: Yes, really. A study in the Clinical Psychology Review journal suggests that cannabis use can help those addicted to alcohol and other substances such as opioids, to become less dependent on them. Perhaps legalizing marijuana would save the lives of people who would otherwise overdose on painkillers or drink themselves to death.

Mental Health: Some studies have shown that marijuana use can help relieve depression, anxiety, and PTSD. With mental health issues cropping up more commonly in recent years, legalizing the drug might help many individuals struggling with mood disorders.

Other Health Issues: Numerous studies and reviews have shown that the effects of cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other debilitating diseases can be mitigated with the use of cannabinoids. Proponents of legalization argue that it would be unethical to allow those affected with diseases and disorders to be barred from using a drug which can increase their comfort.

Cons: Addiction– Although studies show that its use can help those addicted to alcohol and opioids, marijuana is an addictive and harmful substance itself. Allowing for its legalization would sharply increase the number of people using it, which will ultimately lead to higher rates of dependence on the drug.

Health Issues: Marijuana use, like tobacco use, can cause cancer as well as respiratory complications. There are studies that show that using weed can also exacerbate certain mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder. Frequent use of marijuana can also seriously affect short-term memory. Why legalize a drug which can cause serious physical harm to the population?

Dangerous Strains – Legalizing marijuana will not take drug dealers out of business. Rather, because weed would be legal and taxed, drug dealers would be able to supply marijuana to users tax-free, giving them an advantage over legal dispensaries. A big concern with this would be that illegal producers of weed can make more potent, and even dangerous strains of the plant, with zero oversight.

Dangerous Roads – Marijuana legalization would cause a sharp increase in people driving while high. Some 8.6% of nighttime crashes occur due to a driver being high on weed. That is nearly four times the amount of nighttime crashes attributed to alcohol impairment.

Teenage Use – This is an obvious one. Regardless of the possible positive aspects of marijuana legalization, would you really want your teen being able to easily procure it at a store or from a friend? We already know that laws limiting its use to those 21 and older are worthless. Kids can easily get cigarettes and they’ll easily be able to get marijuana as well. Imagine Purim in Lakewood with hundreds of kids high on marijuana…

As you can see, the usage of marijuana has both positive and negative possible outcomes. My personal opinion on the matter is that marijuana use should be limited to those suffering from a disability or illness. But I also know that many disagree with me. Like I said, it’s a complicated issue.

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  1. NO! NO! NO! Legalized Marijuana for recreational use should never happen, There is a difference between recreational use and medical use. Stop lumping them together. Medical Marijuana has a purpose and is needed for some people. Medical Marijuana does not make you high as does recreational use Marijuana.

  2. That is completely false. You get high if you smoke medically as you would if you smoked it recreationally.why would you make a statement about something you clearly know nothing about!!!! Just saying!!!

  3. First of all, writing that marijuana is addictive is wrong. Second, there is not one good reason not to legalize marijuana while there are many reasons it’ll be beneficial. The single biggest hit to the cartels was not our 20 year and multi-billion dollar battle against them but the day Washington and Colorado legalized. It cost the cartels north of 3B in annual revenue. We’d also cut down on medical emergencies caused by “laced” weed. The additional taxes would be helpful as well. It’s less harmful than alcohol, there’s no reason it should be illegal. I personally don’t smoke weed but that doesn’t change the facts.

  4. to # 2 you are correct if you don’t know don’t talk…
    it all depends on the THC content witch in some medical grade is none existent at all.

    I just tried it a little while ago and after years of terrible pain 24-7 I finally had relief for once I will be getting some to use daily

  5. Medical marijuana has a useful purpose and should be prescribed carefully under Dr. direction. However, I am an educator who is also a social therapist. I saw a young man of 27 years who smoked nightly to relieve his depression. I found due to the constant use, when I spoke to him he seemed foggy and a little disoriented. I do feel constant use will have serious side effects. Who is to control how often our young people will use it when readily available? If it is so easily available many will become users who maybe would have not started. Research shows that it does affect the brains of those under the age of 25. It can not bring about any good!

  6. There is no doubt that for many cannabis alleviates certain debilitating symptoms and disease for which there is no other alternative. For these individuals cannabis should absolutely be legalized as needed under the supervision of the patients physician. For everyone else, the question has to be, what are we all trying to escape from? This is a gateway drug that is also linked to a slew of negative health issues. To see people in Canada line up for hours by the hundreds just to get their fix is insane. I wonder what the ERs look like in Edmonton Calgary or Toronto tonight. They might as well just open a whole separate hospital for the new batch of patients.

    • stop fear mongering and misinformation. you have no clue what you are talking about. More people die from drinking than pot, More people die from prescription drugs than pot, more people die from automobile accidents then pot. both in legal and non legal states. it is not a gateway drug compared to drinking. The worse thing that can happen to someone smoking pot for the first time is uncontrollable laughing, munchies then sleep. if you think i am wrong. show me reports of all those poor potheads in the ER in canada!

  7. I think its important that people learn about the different types of MJ before they opine about it. Many medical strains are high in cannabinoids and low in THC, some may be zero THC. But this isn’t always true. Then there is the difference between sativa strains and indica strains. I would suggest the man being treated for depression who was behaving ‘foggy’ was smoking an indica strain, which is stoney. A sativa doesn’t leave someone foggy or lethargic.

    American business has profited from selling addictive substances for decades. If one believes that MJ is addictive, I’d like to see them fight just as hard against sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

  8. Alcohol is addictive – Marijuana is a addictive
    Alcohol is responsible for accidents – Marijuana is too.
    Alcohol causes liver damage and other health issues – So does marijuana.
    Teenagers drink – Teenagers smoke marijuana.
    Can someone please explain the vast difference between them?

    • marijuana has not shown any huge increase in health issues over the years.
      Marijuana is not addictive especially compared to drinking.
      teenagers do everything whether legal or not.
      Idiots who drive under the influence should not be part of an discussion of marijuana legalazation as this is done under everything even cold / flue medicine. these are just stupid inconsiderate people.

      drinking is actually a poison (do the research) marijuana is a plant with medicinal properties as well as other benefits. if you drink too much you get sick and throw up, or even have to go to ER to get stomach pumped or even death. Smoking too much weed will just make you fall asleep and depending on the strain maybe paranoid while under the influence.
      once again people with no knowledge try to spread mis information

  9. Marijuana would be less of an issue then drinking currently is… there are almost no places left for someone to smoke, as they have outlawed almost all indoor places…

  10. It is absolutely ridiculous that some individuals are claiming that drinking alcohol and drinking coffee are addictive and alcohol is even worse. So if something is worse, do we need to add another thing to the list? There is no way anyone can say that marijuana is really safe. We will have teenagers abusing it and maybe childbearing adults smoking it also. Saying that other things are addictive or worse does not justify another dangerous substance. I may be of the old school but in my day we were not that knowledgeable about the effects of smoking. Now we unfortunately know how devastating it can be. Do we have to try everything out to find out later that it has a detrimental effect? I think the fact that this generation is constantly seeking ways of immediate gratification or running away from problems is a fault of the system of how we raised them. In my day we were not so spoiled and carried responsibilities according to our age. I think we had less and were better off!

  11. I will put my 2 cents in, Agree with # 13. Why look for trouble, Dont we have enough already. Although I can see when its needed for pain and is given by a RESPONSIBLE PHYSICIAN in small dosages than maybe it should be permissible [ Its most likely already permissible for medical purposes. in some states. ] Have a good SHabbos Lakewood . And tomorrow night make Kidush on some grape juice or wine. That is 100 % kosher and no side effects whatsoever, I am Bubbie Zelda and [ like politicains say] I approve of this message,

  12. It should become legal. Manu of us bochurim already use it and there is a srigma to it. We need to remove that stigma. It isn’t fair for a girl to refuse a shidduch with me just bc I smoke MJ. I want it to be acceptable to society so that it’s also accepted in shidduchim.

  13. A stupid ? to # 16 . Why exactly are you using it ? And what does it do for you. PLease explain it to this old Bubbie. I wouldnt be too happy my granddaughter to go with a young man that smokes Regardless whether it is M, J, or even cigarettes because it is also very unhealthy, [ And hopefully my granddaughter will listen to me,] Good Woch young man. [ I wonder what your parents think of this issue, ]

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